July 31, 2006
Have you checked your dates lately? Product dating is not required by the federal government on foods except for poultry, infant formula, and some baby food, but more than 20 states mandate it for some products. You'll see words like use by or best if used by on packaged foods like cereal. That's the last date the product is at its peak flavor or quality. It doesn't mean it's unsafe.
Sell by or pull are on foods like dairy products. The retailer must remove them by that date, but you don't have to use them by then. For example, milk is usually good for about seven days after the sell-by date. Expiration dates for most foods is the last date you should eat them. Perishable foods like meat and bagged salads can harbor harmful bacteria. Eggs are an exception. You should be able to use them safely for three to five weeks after the expiration date.
July 30, 2006
I made these today - didn't put a dent in the mammoth-sized zucchini I have in my fridge - but a nice twist on the usual chocolate chip cookies. Slight deviation in the recipe - I didn't have any walnuts and I decided not to add the raiisins. They're still pretty sweet with an oaty feel. We'll see how my co-workers like them tomorrow.
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour, include 1/2 c. whole wheat
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. oats
1 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chocolate bits
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together and add to butter mixture. Beat well. Stir in rest of the ingredients. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 24 large ones or 48 small ones.
July 25, 2006
The answer to all your (my) zucchini prayers...
Cooking Light's feature of the week is zucchini! Problem is I think I've posted/tried most of these recipes already.
A Zillion Zucchini
Growing zucchini is easy, but coming up with creative ways to cook them can be a challenge.
If you have a garden, you know that if you pick one zucchini today, two will appear in its place tomorrow. By the end of the week, count on 30. The prolificacy of zucchini may make you feel like a darn good gardener, but eventually you're going to have to do something with all that squash. You could make zucchini bread, but why not try something a little different, such as Zucchini-Lemon Muffins? If it's too hot to bake, make Grilled Marinated Vegetables instead.
Here's 2 I haven't tried yet...
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced (about 5 ounces)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Combine garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle chicken with garlic powder mixture. Place the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, and broil for 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove the chicken from pan, and keep warm.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, mushrooms, zucchini, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, onion, basil, and vinegar; sauté 3 minutes. Serve the vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half, 1/2 cup vegetables, and 1 tablespoon cheese)
CALORIES 229(29% from fat); FAT 7.3g (sat 2.1g,mono 3.5g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 31.4g; CHOLESTEROL 71mg; CALCIUM 126mg; SODIUM 489mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 2.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9.7g
Grilled Zucchini-and-Summer Squash Salad with Citrus Splash Dressing
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 red onions
4 zucchini, each halved lengthwise (about 1 1/4 pounds)
4 yellow squash, each halved lengthwise (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Peel onions, leaving root intact; cut each onion into 4 wedges. Add onion, zucchini, and yellow squash to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.
Drain vegetables in a colander over a bowl, reserving marinade. Place vegetables on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 8 minutes or until tender; turn and baste occasionally with 3/4 cup of the marinade. Place the vegetables on a serving platter; sprinkle with the basil. Serve the vegetables with the remaining marinade.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 zucchini halves, 2 squash halves, 2 onion wedges, and 3 tablespoon citrus dressing)
CALORIES 168(16% from fat); FAT 3g (sat 0.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 4g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 70mg; SODIUM 302mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.1g
July 22, 2006
Thai Fruit Salad
Enjoy the summer's fruit with this easy to make fruit salad.
3 cups chunked honeydew melon or cantaloupe
3 cups chunked watermelon
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 firm, small bananas, peeled
Dry roasted peanuts (optional)
• Combine honeydew and watermelon in a shallow casserole dish.
• Stir together lime juice, brown sugar, cilantro, lime peel and salt. Pour over fruit. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour to blend flavors.
• Slice bananas; toss with fruit mixture. Serve fruit topped with peanuts, if desired. Servings: 6
Per Serving: 100 Calories, 0g Total Fat, 0g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 65mg Sodium, 13% Potassium, 26g Total Carbohydrate, 2g Dietary Fiber, 19g Sugars, 1g Protein, 11% Vitamin A, 46% Vitamin C, 2% Calcium, 3% Iron, 7% Folate
July 17, 2006
High Altitude Training and Wheat Cakes
I tested my aerobic capicity today by going for a short (very short) run on top of this mountain I'm on. I hear it's about 1200 ft high here in Colorado. The first day I arrived I could definitely tell a difference as I carried my luggage up two flights of stairs. At first I thought it was because I stuffed way too much (shoes mainly) into my two carry-on bags (wouldn't want to waste precious time by actually checking a bag). Then...I remembered the whole altitude thing. I'll admit, I felt a little nausea, short-of-breath and decreased appetite the first 2 days. I did quite a bit of walking around and exploring (16,000 steps worth to be exact!) and could notice a difference. So, with 2.5 days of acclimation under my belt, I decided to give jogging a try. I walked a little to warm up, jogged for 10 mins and then walked another 3 miles to the next village and back.
Even though I haven't actually been running for almost two months, I have stil done aerobic-type exercises. The jog felt a little slow, a little belabored and...kind of gross but I had an enormous amount of saliva production to the point I was spitting every 10 seconds! Just a side note, I learned at my conference that we produce antibodies (IgA) in our saliva which help protect us from bacteria and infections. After hard exercise, these antibodies decrease and this is a possible reason why training (say, for a marathon) can increase your risk for upper-respiratory tract infections (something I had for a good part of my marathon training). Anyway, I had to share my first high altitude training session with you. Wish I had time to stay here and build up my endurance - just to see what it's like when I return to sea level.
After my run, I explored a new eatery in town, Sunshine Cafe. I ordered the Wheat Cakes. These are not your ordinary pancakes (which they also have on the menu). These are actually baked, wheat-based, grainy, very thick cake-type pancakes. I got mine with bananas and walnuts on top. Very good! Grainy, thick and tastey.
Peaches and Plums
Peaches and plums are the fruit of the month this month. And they arrived at my doorstep RIPE! I can only eat so many as a snack, so they're in the refrigerator waiting for a new recipe to try. Ever grill peaches? Try this recipe for a new flavor.
Grilled Sirloin Skewers with Peaches and Peppers
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds boneless sirloin steak, cut into 48 (1-inch) pieces
4 peaches, each cut into 8 wedges
2 small red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
2 large red bell peppers, each cut into 8 (1-inch) pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
Parsley sprigs (optional)
To prepare kebabs, combine first 7 ingredients; toss well. Thread 3 steak pieces, 2 peach wedges, 1 onion wedge, and 1 bell pepper piece alternately onto each of 16 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Place kebabs on a platter; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 5 minutes.
To prepare sauce, combine chopped parsley and next 5 ingredients (chopped parsley through garlic), stirring with a whisk. Spoon over kebabs. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 kebabs)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 217(30% from fat); FAT 7.2g (sat 2.4g,mono 3g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 25.5g; CHOLESTEROL 69mg; CALCIUM 38mg; SODIUM 768mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 3.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 12.4g
July 14, 2006
Are you really hungry?
Can an apple really tell you if you’re hungry or not? Ever hear of the apple test? This is a way you can determine emotional needs from physiological hunger. At the onset of food thoughts, cravings or prior to eating anything that is offered to you – ask yourself “Would I eat an apple?��? Since apples are usually considered plain but nourishing food, the goal is to determine if you are truly hungry. If you answer yes, I would eat an apple, you are truly hungry. If you answer no, I would eat a donut but not an apple, you are eating to fill emotional needs. Now if you don’t like the taste of apples and you wouldn’t eat them if you were starving on a deserted island – don’t use this test.
July 13, 2006
Normal Eating Defined
What exactly does it mean to eat normal?
Eating that does not cause chaos in one’s thoughts and behaviors with food.
A relationship with food that is not guilt- or shame-based.
Eating that is thoughtful and connected, not obsessive.
Eating that is satisfying and enjoyable.
Eating that is flexible, and, occasionally “disordered��?.
Moderation in everything, including moderation.
July 12, 2006
Understanding Intuitive Eating
A key component of intuitive eating is the concept of having unconditional permission to eat a food. That’s right – there are no “good��? or “bad��? foods. Nothing is off limits. How can this be healthy? Most people worry that once they start eating a “forbidden��? food, they won’t be able to stop. Studies show that the more a person is exposed to (and allowed to eat) a food, the less desirable it becomes over time. So, knowing that you can eat a particular food again whenever you want makes it less compelling to eat it now and eat it all. Now the thought to stop eating when full is no longer threatening. I think some people put too much importance on food. Not that food isn’t important, but it shouldn’t be the highlight of the party or the center of every thought you have. Relax, eat what you’re hungry for and stop when you’re full. Studies have found that Americans are worry-warts when it comes to food. They scored the highest of four countries on the level of worrying about the fattening effects of food rather than savoring it. They also associate food the most with health and the least with pleasure. We need to build a healthy relationship with food and understand that our character and self-worth are not altered by our food choices.
July 11, 2006
No time to get to the gym this weekend with all the yard work to be done? You don't have to hit the gym to get the physical activity your body needs. Hit the yard!
It's easy to burn calories when mowing and edging the lawn, using the weed whacker, pulling weeds or planting your favorite annuals. For example, a 134-pound person can burn nearly 140 calories pushing a lawn mower for 20 minutes.
Step outside and give your yard and your body the nurturing they deserve.
American Dietetic Association.
Speaking of gardens, I have zucchini coming out of my ears! We’ve BBQed it, sautéed it with tomatoes once and carrots another time, added it to stir frys, added it to sandwiches, eaten it raw and even made a zucchini bread to take into work. And it just keeps growing! Anyone have any good zucchini recipes?
Life with a personal dietitian
This piece written by Barbara Quinn, RD, CDE is very funny to us dietitians. For some reason (and I think it's the same with other professions) it's hard for family members to take our knowledge/specialties seriously. As long as they get the information and they listen and act - job well done.
My husband has a personal dietitian and it's not who you think. This relationship started a year or so ago when he took a nutrition class from Michelle, an extremely talented registered dietitian who also happens to be my friend and co-worker.
"Let me tell you what I learned from 'my' dietitian," he'd say when he got home from class each week.
"Pray tell," I'd respond with wifely enthusiasm.
"She showed us that a reasonable serving size is this big... ," he'd demonstrate as he made a fist with his hand. "That's the limit on how much I should eat... a fistful of meat, a fistful of pasta... if I want to eat healthfully."
"Interesting!" I'd say, wondering if he had heard anything I'd said to him over the past two decades of our marriage.
"You know," he informed me a few weeks later, "MY dietitian says I need to eat lots of vegetables. And I've found they really do add a lot of flavor to meals."
"Real-ly," I'd manage to smile through my teeth.
Have I had any influence on this man's nutritional profile in the last 20-odd years? I remember when we were first married I couldn't get him to drink low-fat milk. So I did what any resourceful dietitian/wife would do. When he wasn't looking, I'd sneak to the refrigerator and pour nonfat milk into his carton of whole milk.
He never suspected a thing... until he caught me in the act one day. But it was too late. By that time, he was already accustomed to the taste of lower fat milk. How's THAT for a personal dietitian?
Still, my husband has become spellbound with the important nutrition concepts he has learned from his "P.D." (Personal Dietitian).
One evening as I was preparing to leave the next day for a NUTRITION conference, I asked my dear spouse, "What is the most important thing you have learned from Michelle?"
"The most important?" he said, obviously enthused about my question. "Self-talk... even though I hate to admit it because it's a little touchy-feely."
"Positive self-talk?" I attempted to interject.
"Just self-talk," he corrected. "Talking to yourself like your mother would: Are you really hungry? Do you really want a double cheeseburger? Eat your vegetables"
I nodded knowingly.
"And lastly," he continued, on his roll, "exercise, exercise, exercise. Nothing will change unless you..."
I'm SO glad he shared all this valuable information with me.
July 10, 2006
A sound and healthy diet ...
(Diet meaning what you eat everyday)
• Relies on a variety of readily available foods.
• Includes an exercise component, preferably at least 30 minutes per day.
• Promotes slow, gradual weight loss of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week.
• Requires medical clearance from your doctor.
• Is based on at least three meals per day.
• Requires a commitment to changing lifestyle habits (behavior modification).
• Contains all the essential nutrients and food groups.
• Is one you can follow long term.
• Prescribes portion control and moderation.
• Provides at least 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.
• Provides enough food to satisfy your hunger.
— Kathleen M. Zelman
July 6, 2006
So I've gone this whole week without making the big announcement. Unfortunately I've not found a cure for diabetes or a super food that actually melts the pounds away - sorry healthy eating and exercise is still the way to go. But...I do have some big news! My boyfriend and I traveled to my hometown in Pennsylvania for a family reunion and got engaged! The trip started with a red-eye flight into Pittsburgh just in time to catch the Pirates in action against the White Sox. The Pirates managed to end their losing streak with a walk-off home run despite a short rain delay. Although that was amazing, the most exciting moment came in the 4th inning when I looked up at the score board and saw my name and will you marry me? I wasn’t paying much attention to the scoreboard as I was wondering why he had his hand in his pocket and he let the Bud Light vendor walk right by without getting a refill. So in front of 21,000 fans, David asked me to marry him and I, of course, said YES!
The other part of the news is the introduction of my...I mean our...new website www.roadtoourwedding.com. It's still in it's early stages of development, so bare with me, us, as WE work on it as time allows. (So many things I want to do, so little time. Did I mention the whole east coast, west coast thing...not going to be easy. But, I promise not to neglect all of you in the nutrition and fitness world.)
July 4, 2006
8th Grade-Proof Goodies for Lunchboxes
A few items any kid would enjoy.
* Fruity Kebabs: Spear chunks of pineapple, cucumber, orange and/or grapes on toothpicks; include a small cup of sugar-free yogurt for dipping.
* Happy Trails Mix: Combine equal parts popcorn and whole-grain unsweetened cereal; add a small handful of orange-flavored dried cranberries.
* Chips & Dip: Pack up a small bag of baked tortilla chips; include a separate container of salsa you’ve spiked with shredded Cheddar cheese for dipping.
* Do-It-Yourself Mini Stackers: Provide whole-grain crackers, 1-inch squares of sliced roast turkey breast and cucumber rounds in separate containers. Let your child stack her own “sandwiches.��?
* Mini Rice-Cake Sandwiches: Spread peanut butter between mini rice cakes.
* Taco Bites: Provide separate containers of mini-taco shells (preferably trans-fat-free), low-fat bean dip, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese and salsa.
* Ham “Sushi��?: Spread turkey ham lunchmeat with a thin layer of reduced-fat cream cheese. Sprinkle with shredded carrot and roll into a cylinder; slice crosswise into “sushi.��?
* Petite Pitas: Fill mini whole-wheat pitas with hummus, shredded lettuce and chopped tomato. Drizzle with Italian dressing; wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
July 3, 2006
Smoky Stuffed Peppers
Turkey sausage and smoked cheese give a flavorful boost to this versatile, somewhat retro dinner. We've speeded it up by microwave-blanching the peppers and using instant brown rice. If possible, choose peppers that will stand upright.
6 large bell peppers, tops cut off, seeded
12 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links, removed from casings
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups instant brown rice
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup finely shredded smoked cheese, such as mozzarella, Cheddar or Gouda, divided
1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
2. Place peppers cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Fill the dish with 1/2 inch of water, cover and microwave on High until the peppers are just softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain the water and transfer the peppers to a roasting pan.
3. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes and rice; increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is softened but still moist, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until the rice absorbs the remaining liquid, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir basil and half the cheese into the rice mixture. Divide the filling among the peppers, then top with the remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 6.
Per serving: 294 calories; 11 g fat (5 g sat, 0 g mono); 45 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 19 g protein; 5 g fiber; 533 mg sodium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (230% daily value), Vitamin A (30% dv), Fiber (20% dv), Calcium & Iron (15% dv).