February 27, 2012
Chicken with Rice and Mushrooms
A small amount of dried porcini mushrooms goes a long way. Using the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid gives this one-dish meal a rich, earthy flavor.
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/4 ounce)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1. Combine 2 cups boiling water and porcini mushrooms; let stand for 20 minutes. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving soaking liquid. Finely chop mushrooms.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until chicken is browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cremini mushrooms; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in reserved porcini liquid, chopped porcini, and rice; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 35 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken, peas, and thyme. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is done.
Amount per serving
Saturated fat: 2.4g
Monounsaturated fat: 6.7g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.4g
February 16, 2012
It's Sweet Potato Month
February marks National Sweet Potato Month; here are ideas to help you enjoy this super spud.
· For the best flavor, choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots.
· Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place.
· Avoid refrigerating sweet potatoes, as the cold temperature negatively alters their flavor.
Beta-carotene gives the sweet potato its deep orange color. One medium potato also provides us with over 200 percent of our daily value of vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a key role in the health of our eyes, skin, skeletal and soft tissue, and even our teeth.
Anthocyanin lends the purple sweet potato its unusual violet hue. Purple sweet potatoes contain antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties similar to red wine.
The high fiber content of sweet potatoes slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to keep blood sugar steady.
1.) Wash and peel sweet potatoes; cut into long ¾-inch-wide strips; toss with olive oil and cayenne pepper. Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes for crispy sweet potato fries with a kick! The fat content of the oil will help with absorption of the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes.
2.) Purée cooked sweet potatoes with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon. Top with chopped walnuts. The healthy fat in walnuts also helps with beta-carotene absorption.
3.) Sweet potato pancakes - Ingredients: 2 large eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 cup store-bought pancake mix, 1 small pinch ground nutmeg, 1 small sweet potato, boiled, peeled and mashed; Instructions: Cook batter according to pancake mix directions.
4.) Make your own baby food by puréeing cooked sweet potato, adding water for correct consistency.
5.) Grill them. Wash, leave peel on and cut into wedges. Marinate with bottled low-sodium teriyaki sauce and grill until tender.
February 13, 2012
Chocolate hearts, chocolates kisses and chocolate truffles -- Valentine's Day is tomorrow! Is it true chocolate is good for you? Not all chocolate is the same. The dark chocolate contains more flavonoids which have a health benefit. All chocolate starts off as cocoa. If you have ever tasted cocoa powder it has a very strong, almost bitter, taste because of the flavonoids. Flavonoids are natural compounds found in food products like cocoa, tea, apples, cranberries, and peanuts. These special compounds help lower blood pressure, discourage blood from clotting and improve blood flow to the heart. The longer the chocolate is processed the more the flavonoids are decreased.
So give your sweetheart dark chocolate to help their heart.
February 9, 2012
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name "chia" as well as several trademarked names. Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.
Chia seeds have recently gained attention as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid. They also contain fiber, protein, minerals and antioxidants.
Emerging research suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and promote weight loss.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Ground chia seeds can be used for porridge or baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits. In Mexico, a dish called chia fresco is made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice or water. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes.
The seeds are not the only important part of the chia plant. The sprouts are also edible and can be added to salads, sandwiches and other dishes. Chia sprouts may be most familiar as the green fur or hair of Chia Pets, a collectible clay figurine.
Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
February 6, 2012
Pan-Grilled, Ginger-Honey Pork Tenderloin
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
Combine ginger, honey, juice, and soy sauce in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add pork to grill pan; cook 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° or until desired degree of doneness, basting frequently with sauce. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Amount per serving
Saturated fat: 0.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.9g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4g
February 2, 2012
"80/20 rule" to eating: The idea is this: Focus on eating well 80% of the time, and don't worry about the other 20%. Some prefer to use a 90:10 ratio. Either way, I like it, and it's realistic, doable, and can result in good health overall.
The beautiful thing about subscribing to the 80/20 (or the 90/10) rule, is that mentally, it allows you to start feeling okay about what you may have otherwise thought of as "cheating on your diet". Ban the word "cheat day" or "I blew it" from your eating vocabulary! You are not cheating, but if you continue to view it as so, you are depriving yourself of normal eating behavior.
- Eat small amounts of food at about the same times each day, preferable 3-5 times a day
- Consume plenty of water, and limiting all nutritive, caloric beverages to no more than about 24-36 ounces a day (these would be nonfat or low fat milk, fruit or vegetable juices)
- Limit non-nutritive caloric beverages (soda, sports drinks, juices, alcohol) to no more than 16 ounces a day (less on most days for most people).
- Enjoy the food choices you make, and add variety to your diet - in other words, eat all types of food that you like, just not too much of it. Is your grandmother's voice in the back of your head? Listen to it.
- Do however try new foods. Aim for adding more fresh fruits and vegetables into you diet - and eat the ones you like. Invest in a few good cookbooks.
- Limit deep fried food. Who doesn't love fried food? I enjoy good French fries, potato chips, or fried seafood once in a while, but eating fried food daily is not going to keep you at a healthy weight, so enjoy it only occasionally, and eat less of it.
- Sit down and enjoy your food. Being distracted while eating does not allow you to focus on how the food tastes, and when you are full. You also may tend to eat too quickly, causing you to eat too much.
- Exercise. In 2012, when we have technology at our fingertips that was unimaginable in 1970, we must make an effort to move our bodies. We actually must think about it and plan it, because our day to day lives rely on technology that forces us to be sedentary: Sitting at computers, using automated devices (automatic washing machines, automatic coffee grinders - my grandmother used a hand-crank to grind beans - snow blowers, leaf-blowers, people-movers) cars, buses, elevators, etc.