Category Archives for Food & Recipes

Bourbon Steak With Orzo Casserole & Buttered Carrots

By Sandra Berger

Recipes

½ c Soy Sauce
½ c Bourbon
2 lbs Sirloin or Round Steak, 1 inch thick

Combine soy sauce and bourbon in a shallow dish or large zip-lock bag. Add steak, flip once. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

1 c Orzo Pasta, Cooked
1 c Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1 Red Pepper, Chopped
1/3 c Banana Peppers, Drained and Chopped
1 c Sour Cream
1/2 c Parmesan Cheese
2 T Butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 ½ quart souffle or casserole dish. Combine first 4 ingredients and put in prepared pan. Spread sour cream over the top, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and dot with butter. Bake until golden and puffed – about 15 minutes. (Remove from oven, set aside if broiling steak).

While the casserole is baking, steam carrots until fork tender – about 7 minutes – and prepare grill or broiler. Grill/broil steak about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.

Serves 4.

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”  ~ Frankl

What Is It Wednesday: Impostor Cake

By Rosie Battista

What Is It Wednesday is the day we reveal a product and its ingredient list and you guess what this “food product” is. Then I’ll share with you an option for making a healthy version of this product.

STOP PRETENDING THAT WHAT YOU EAT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE IT DOES.

Guess what “food product” has these 45 ingredients ? WOW …. seriously? !!???!!

sugar
eggs
water
enriched wheat flour
inulin
plydextrose
invert sugar
interesterified soy bean oil
dried carrots
soybean oil
cream cheese
agar-agar
artificial flavors
calcium carbonate
calcium sulfate
canola oil
citric acid
cornstarch
dextrose
egg yolks
food starch modified
glycerin
high fructose corn syrup
hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil
leavening
malodexterin
mono and diclycerides
non fat milk
pea fiber
polysorbate 60
potassium sorbate
propylparaben
sorbic acid
propylene glycol
mono and diesters of fatty acids
salt
sodium stearoyl
lactylate
sorbitan monostearate
soy lecithin
spice
sunflower oil
titanium dioxide
wheat starch
xanthan gum

You may actually decide this is good to eat based on the promise on the front of the box stating: 90 calories, 4 g fiber and REAL CARROTS. hmmmm?

You may also want to justify your intake of this product because you are watching your weight. I would invite you to watch your HEALTH instead. When you watch your health, your perfect weight follows. If you are watching your health, you will not be eating a product that has 35 of it’s 45 ingredients as indistinguishable, indescribable and unpronounceable.

If you are having a difficult time wrapping your head around the idea that this is considered an edible substance, image how your body feels when you try and feed it with this chemical concoction. Want to know what it is? It is …

Wednesday

 

 

 

 

WHAT YOU COULD EAT INSTEAD that gives you the same flavors without the risk of a “chemical coma”?

1. CUT UP AND DIP. Cut up carrots dipped in decadent dip . Make this simple naked dip by blending 1 cup raw cashews, 1 red apple, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp cinnamon, juice squeezed from one orange. Pour the dip in a beautiful jar and you’re good to grab and go.

2. MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE AND EAT IT TOO. I love Emily of This Rawsome Vegan Life’s concoction of this gorgeous- beyond ridiculously amazing carrot cake. It is very simple to make and a beautiful recipe using naked food in it’s most natural form, I have tried this recipe and I have one warning for you! If you love carrot cake, this is a tad irresistible. Decadent and rich, I’d eat this one for dinner and call it a meal. Click here for the recipe.

REMEMBER! Just because it’s in a box, on a shelf, in a grocery store, does NOT make it fit to eat.

 

Feta Stuffed Burgers

Close-up of Fresh Vegetables and Fruitswith Steamed Broccoli & Roasted Red Skins

1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Egg
2 T Chives
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 T Roasted Garlic, minced (can be found in a jar in produce section)
Salt & Pepper
4 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled

Combine all the ingredients except Feta in a bowl with your hands. Divide mixture into 8 patties, line them up in 2 rows of 4.

On 4 of the patties, equally divide the cheese. Press gently and top with the other patties.

SEAL THE EDGES very well. Set in refrigerator to set up while preparing remainder of meal.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a sheet pan inside.

Cut 5 medium redskin potatoes in 8 pieces each, toss in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Remove pan from oven and dump potatoes on pan, spread evenly (this will allow for a crisper potato).

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, stirring at about 20 minutes.

With 20 minutes remaining, cut broccoli and bring to a boil until fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add patties. Cook for about 5 minutes per side.

Serves 4

Never eat more than you can lift with one hand.”  – Miss Piggy

Greek Shrimp & Couscous

Shrimp

6 T oil
1 Onion, Chopped
1 ½ lbs Shrimp, Peeled
45 oz can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
2/3 cup White Wine
2 t Oregano
1 cup Feta, Crumbled

 

 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add shrimp, cook on both sides until just pink, about 1 minute per side. Add tomatoes, wine, and oregano.

Simmer for 15 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally. At this time, prepare the couscous, set aside.

Serve shrimp mixture over the couscous and top with feta cheese.

Serves 4

Moo-Shu Meatloaf

ABM Recipes

Moo-Shu Meatloaf

Brown Rice

& Garlic Green Beans

2 T Oil
2 c Savory Cabbage, shredded (or bagged cole slaw)
3 T Onion, chopped
½ can Mushrooms, sliced
½ t Ground Ginger
1 T Garlic, minced
2 T Soy Sauce
2 T Sherry
½ c Stir Fry Sauce
1 c Bread Crumbs
2 Eggs
2 lbs Ground Pork

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over heat heat. Slowly add the cabbage, mushrooms, onion, ginger and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes until it appears wilted. Take off heat, stir in soy sauce, sherry and 2T stir fry sauce. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and eggs. Add the ground pork and vegetable mixture. Knead with your hands until well mixed. Transfer to a 9×5 loaf pan or form into a small loaf and place in a baking pan. Bake for 1 hour.

While meatloaf is baking, prepare rice according to package directions.

After removing meatloaf from oven, slice 2 garlic cloves and brown in 2 T olive oil over heat heat. Add green beans to garlic, cook until the beans blister (get black spots), then add a splash of soy sauce, and then remove from stove. Set aside.

While the meatloaf rests for 10 minutes, top with remaining stir fry sauce.

 

“I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I can learn how to do it.”   – Picasso

Beef Stew & Potato Rolls

Beef Stew & Potato Rolls

 

ABM Recipes

2T Flour

2T Butter

1 lb Beef Stew Meat

1 Can Tomato Soup

1 Soup Can Water

2 Onions, Quartered

1 lb bag Baby Carrots

3 Potatoes, Cubed

¼ t Thyme

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Dust the meat with the flour and brown on all sides in melted butter. Add the soup and water, stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for an additional hour or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover during the last 20 minutes for a thicker stew. Serves4

This can be made ahead of time. Just cover and refrigerate after stew has cooled.

“Teach us to delight in the simple things.”  – Kipling

Poulette Parisenne & Israeli Couscous

Recipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Sandra Berger

Poulette Parisenne, Israeli Couscous

Ingredients:

2 lbs Chicken Pieces, skinned
2 T Oil
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8oz Mushrooms, quartered
1/3 c Canned Tomatoes, Petite Diced
Dash Basil
15 oz Artichoke Hearts, Drained and Quartered

Directions:

In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown chicken in oil. Pour off excess oil and chicken grease. Add remaining ingredients, except artichokes. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes, turning chicken and stirring sauce occasionally. When there is 30 minutes left on chicken, make couscous according to package directions. Right before serving, add the artichokes to chicken and heat through, about 3 minutes.

Serves 4

Let him who would move the world, first move himself.   – Socrates

Curried Black Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage

By Sandra Berger

Ingredients:

2 T Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, sliced
2 T Curry Powder
1 lb Smoked Sausage, sliced
1 ½ cup Chicken Broth
32 oz Black Beans, drained
2 T White Whine Vinegar
3 cups Cooked Rice

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and curry powder until onions are tender. Stir in sausage and broth, stirring up any brown bits. Simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in beans an cook until hot. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Spoon over rice. Serves 4

“Successful Women Eat.” – Waterhouse

Sausage, Peppers, Onions & Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce

By Sandra Berger

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian Sausage Links (about 5)
28 oz Tomato Sauce
1 lg Sweet Pepper, sliced (red, yellow, or orange)
1 lg Onion, sliced
1 lb pasta

Directions:

In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown on all sides. Remove from pan, and set aside. In same pan, sautee peppers and onions until softening. Add sausage and tomato sauce to vegetable mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about ½ hour.

While sausages are simmering, get a pot large pot of heavily salted water to boil (the salt in the water adds more flavor to the pasta). Cook according to package directions. Drain, portion into large bowls. Top with a sausage and sauce. Parmesan cheese as desired. Serves 4.

 

How To Go Grocery Shopping for Radiant Health

I worked with a man who was training for the Tour de France a couple of years ago, and not only did he spend a LOT of time on his bike, he was extremely careful about everything that he ate.  He did all his grocery shopping at Whole Foods, which told me he probably made more money than me…  Not what I would call discount shopping!

When I made a comment about how pricey it was to shop there, he was amazed that I felt that way, and was quick to point out that there was a lot you could get there that was at least close to what you might pay at your local Safeway.

Next time I visited Whole Foods I did a little more looking around, and found that he was correct – there really were many items that were healthier but comparably priced!

Lesson learned was that you could shop for healthier items and not have to spend a fortune!

Paula Owens, nutritionist and author, shares some of her grocery shopping tips in a recent article.

The first is one that I have heard for years – shop for REAL FOOD, not processed and sugary.  These items are usually found around the perimeter of the store and not in the center aisles (there are a few good items there too, like olive oil, nut butters and coffee/tea.

Real food excludes items that are low-fat and fat-free (generally nasty and unsatisfying!) products that come with a generous amount of artificial sweeteners and other chemicals not naturally occurring in real-for-sure food.

She also recommends organic as much as possible, claiming that organic produce is much healthier, and that those that eat organic tend to have better immunity, less body fat, and get better sleep.  If your budget doesn’t allow you to make those choices across the board, trying to pick organic eggs, meats, and specific fruits and vegetables that tend to be the highest in pesticides.

These include some of my favorites – apples, celery, bell peppers, spinach and cucumbers. She has a list of 12 that she calls the Dirty Dozen.

Read labels and avoid those containing artificial ingredients, but if you stick to the real food recommendation above, these will drop right out!

Use a list when you shop and stick to it!! For best results, have a healthy snack prior to your shopping trip to reduce temptation.

For other recommendations, read the entire article here.

Obese Children Do NOT Want To Discuss Their Weight!

Everyone knows that as a country, the United States has a weight problem. If we wanted further proof of this, the American Medical Association has now classified obesity as a disease.

Over 1/3 of adults are considered to be obese, and 17% of children and teens (there are three times as many obese children as there were in 1980).

The medical costs associated with this were up to $147 billion in 2008, according to U.S. News and World Reports

With costs continuing to rise, you can be sure it is more than that today!

It is particularly concerning that there are so many young people that are overweight. What can be done to start decreasing those numbers?

A recent study by the University of Minnesota says that the best results will not be realized by having their parents talk to them about their weight.

In the study, 2800 you people were asked about their eating behaviors, and when their mothers talked to them about their weight they were 64% more likely to try dieting or unhealthy weight loss tactics than those whose moms simply talked to them about healthy eating (40%).

This really doesn’t prove that children who have had discussions about weight with their parents actually pursue these unhealthy behaviors as a result – there are many other factors that were not looked at as part of this study.

But doesn’t it make more sense to provide a good role model for our children by eating healthy food as a rule? That doesn’t mean never having chocolate cake again, but following a good nutritional eating plan most of the time provides a good example for them to follow.

Not having a lot of junk food in the house also makes it easier for them to not down that bag of chips!

There are so many really tasty, healthy meals that we can serve our children. Most of us are busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook, but meals during the week do not have to be elaborate. With some planning you can have what you need on hands, and the meal doesn’t have to take hours to fix.

Making sure your children understand what is healthy, and providing ways for them to eat healthy food regularly, works much better to help them become healthy-weight adults than shaming them by talking about their weight.

Image by Walter Siegmund, used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Stay Cool as a Cucumber Through The Summer Months!

It is that time of the year again – the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer (ok, well it FEELS like summer even though technically it is another week away…)

In most places the weather has been pretty darn hot, and we tend to turn to ice cold lite beer or a skinny cow ice cream bar to help us cool down.

As strange as it may seem, those are not necessarily the best choices to make for cooling you off!

Because of the way these items react inside your body, they are likely to make you feel hotter in the long run!

Didn’t see that one coming did you?

Better choices would be fresh fruits and vegetables with a high water content. Think melons of all varieties, citrus fruits, and salad vegetables. Lettace, cucumbers, radishes, celery – these are all loaded with water that can help cool you right down.

“Cool as a cucumber” is an accurate statement!

Drinking a lot of water will also help keep you from getting dehydrated as well as cooling you off!

Traditional Chinese Medicine would concur – they classify these raw foods as food with cooling properties, they clear heat, flush out toxins and increase body fluids.

And a nice vegetable or fruit salad won’t heat up your kitchen!

For even better results, make a salad dressing that contains something spicy like ginger or a little red pepper. While you may think of these as “hot” they can make you sweat, which will cool you off!

The combination of cool, raw veggies and spicy dressing will cool you off both inside and out!

Herbal Mania – Fast, Fresh Herbs At Home!

Have you ever noticed how much fresh herbs can make such a huge difference in your dishes! There is just no comparison between adding dried basil to your spaghetti sauce versus fresh, sweet basil.

YUM!

You can buy fresh herbs in the store, and normally they are so expensive – $3 for a small bunch. That doesn’t go very far!

But if you grow your own herbs, they cost a fraction of the price, and if you care for them they will reward you with harvest for many months.

If you live in a place with a short growing season, like I do, you can try growing herbs in pots inside. All you need is some good soil (I use Miracle Grow Potting Soil) and a spot that gets a fair amount of sun.

I’m lucky to have what I call “The Magic Window” in my kitchen/dining area. Atrium-style windows where lots of sun comes in through the day.

You can buy the plants almost anywhere, but they don’t have to cost very much.

I have basil, mint, parsley and dill growing there now, along with a couple of tomato plants.

If you haven’t had good luck with tomatoes in the past, check out www.gardeners.com and look for their tomato success kit. OMG! If anything they grew too fast last time I used it, growing almost a foot a week!

Tomatozilla…

[box type=”info” align=”alignleft” ]In case you have never tried it, most herbs freeze really well too. I freeze basil leaves regularly, then you can take them out just when it is time to add them to the pot and crumble them easily. It tastes just as good as freshly picked![/box]

Another benefit is playing in the dirt – brings you back to childhood:)

7 Tips to Anxiety-Free Grilling

Living in a summer vacation mecca, you know that summer is here when Memorial Day rolls around and the grocery store is sold out of all the specials on the first day they come out!

Not only do the tourists come out, but so does everyone’s barbeque grill (and sometimes the bears, but that is a story for another day!).

You hear a lot of negativity around grilling these days,  the fat and amino acids drilling off meat causes the formation of HAs (Not actually something funny, it stands for Heterocyclic amines, a carcinogenic). The formation is increases as the temperature gets higher, and the longer the meat is cooked.

The American Cancer Society even tells us that a study out of the University of Minnesota found that regular eating of well-done, charred meats can increase pancreatic cancer risk by as much as 60%!

But there are several ways that you can still use your grill and minimize your risk.

1. Grill as many fruits and vegetables as you want, they do not create the same toxic chemicals as meat.

2. Grill more lean meats like fish and chicken.

3. Marinating your meats prior to grilling can reduce the risk of carcinogens as much as 88%.

4. Protect the meat by lining your grill with foil and poking a few small holes in it.

5. Don’t forget to clean the grill thoroughly with a wire brush before each use to remove the built up burned bits that collect there, it will make your food safer AND it will taste better too!

6. Making kebabs with several different vegetables and cubes of chicken or lean meat is a great use of the grill – there is a smaller amount of meat so the cooking time will be less, AND you will be adding more healthy servings of vegetables to your meal!

7. Use spices that combat the effects of HAs: rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic are some that seem to be effective.

Enjoy grilling this summer, and consider revving up the nutritional value of your meal by replacing high calorie  side dishes like the traditional potato salad with a healthier alternative.

Try mixing diced avocado, tomato, cucumber, red onion, black beans, corn, cilantro, and jalapeno with a freshly squeezed lime or two and a drizzle of olive oil.  Make it even more interesting by grilling the corn first, then cutting off the cob and into the salad.

Image by Murcotipton, used under the Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 Unported License.

5 Steps To Keep Your Eating Habits Off Of YouTube

By Rosie Battista

You may want to dance like nobody’s watching but Eat like you may end up on YouTube.

Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light – wiping Big Mac sauce from your cheek – only to see a snot-nosed kid in the backseat of a Honda laughing at you while you lick the fallen pickle from your cleavage?

Now imagine that precious little angel in the backseat pointing his favorite new toy at you – the iPhone.  And picture that by the next traffic light your pickle-tainted cleavage has already gone viral? Now, that’s something to chew on, huh?

Suddenly, you feel invaded – embarrassed – humiliated …UGH!

Are your feelings a result of the prankster in the Honda, or is the shame a symptom of something larger?

Overeating, under-eating, and eating poorly are all forms of violence against your body and your soul. Eating on the run or without self-awareness is a poor habit at best – but this abusive behavior is also a cause of weight control issues as well as with low self-esteem.

How differently would you behave if you always ate as if that naughty child had his finger on the Record button – waiting to broadcast your every move?

Dainty come to mind?

When you dine daintily with self-love as the goal, toxic behaviors just don’t fit anymore. Dainty dining isn’t eating on the run or shoveling food into your mouth while scanning for the next bite from an open refrigerator door.

Healthy eating involves love, care, a table and chair. It means setting your place with a plate and a fork, and it means keeping a napkin in your lap. Eating becomes dainty dining which is almost spiritual when you clean up your act.

I hear you, though. Today’s fast-paced, fast food environment doesn’t promote Dainty Dining, and you sure don’t have the time to put a 3-course, healthy meal on your table 3 times a day.

But don’t you deserve a healthy and spiritual body – in spite of your hectic, fast food schedule? And wouldn’t extra time in your day to do so be a welcome addition?

Here’s the secret … When you weigh less and feel great, it’s amazing how much more energy you have to get things done – quicker. See the trick? It’s a balance that can add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to every day while keeping your bad behaviors off from the World Wide Web.

Now can I tell you how? Only 5 simple steps will help you increase time in your day, decrease your weight, and boost your self-confidence.

5 Dainty Dining Tips For A Healthy, Spiritual You

  1. Set your place. Sit down at a table rather than a desk or a steering wheel. And use a plate and silverware. (I even like to put a fresh flower from the Farmers Market in a glass in front of me)
  2. Say Thanks. Before eating every meal, pause in gratitude. Say grace. Offer a few words of appreciation for the food that nourishes your body and your body for its healthy vitality and resilience.
  3. Take small bites. Set your fork down in between mouthfuls.
  4. Chew slowly. A good rule of thumb is to count to 20 and to make each bite last at least the length of your count.
  5. Focus on your meal. Shut off your phone, computer, and the TV. Give your food the attention it deserves for making you feel so gorgeous and savor each bite.

Once you’ve embraced Dainty Dining, you can even invite that naughty little boy and his mother over for lunch – with confidence. They will witness your self- love and capture the proof that you are providing extreme self-care to the thing that matters most—your precious body.

That’s something only Miss Manners would post to YouTube, huh?

Image by Jef Poskanzer of Berkeley, CA, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Bake Your Mom A Mexican Breakfast Pizza For Mother’s Day!

This recipe would have been perfect if Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo had fallen on the same weekend this May!

Alas, they were a week apart…

But Mexican flavors are good any time, so I still think this Mexican Breakfast Pizza is a good one to offer your favorite Mom for breakfast or brunch on Her Day.

Mexican Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough, either refrigerated dough or your own recipe, depending upon your preference.

10 oz tube Jimmy Dean Reduced-Fat sausage (if you want it spicier, use chorizo)

1/2 cup Medium to Hot Salsa

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3/4 cup shredded Cotija Cheese (I sometimes use cheddar)

4 beaten eggs, or egg substitute, and a touch of cream

Cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease a baking sheet – 11 inch round for a traditional looking pizza, or 9 X 13.

For a nice touch, you could use a cookie sheet and shape your dough into a large heart shape, making sure to create a “lip” of dough around the edges so the toppings don’t ooze out!

Grease your hands and press the dough to the edges of the pan, or in a special shape. Bake 11 – 14 minutes, until edges start to turn brown.

While the dough is baking, cook your sausage in a skillet over medium to high heat, breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks and making sure it is thoroughly cooked.

Drain the sausage, and remove from the skillet.

Lightly beat the eggs with cream, and pour into the skillet. Cook over Medium to Low heat until almost set; add sausage and stir to combine.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa over partially-baked crust. Top with the eggs and sausage mixture. Sprinkle evenly with both cheeses.

Turn oven to 350, and bake an additional 8-12 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro.

Serve with additional salsa and sour cream.

Breakfast Pizza image by sinksanctity on Flickr.

Celebration of Food – Can’t Live Without It!

Food is the subject of many of the conversations I find myself having, how about you?

I have traveled quite a lot and the way I differentiate between many of the cities I have visited is certain restaurants and particular meals that I ate while there.

The other women that I work with – heck, ALL the people I work with! – are interested in food and are constantly exchanging recipes.

There are several recipes in the family, that have been handed down, and we are passing them along too. Your family probably has many of its own specialties too!

Food is necessary for life, but in our culture it is so much more than that. Almost every social event is intertwined with food.

Which is why I was so intrigued with this article from Papermag.com. They present what they call the 10 best “Foodieodicals.”  And I have never heard of any of them – time to get out there and do more exploring!!

So, if you are looking for something new in the food arena and are wanting to expand beyond Paula Dean, Rachel Ray, and the other Food Network Chefs (not knocking them – I try their recipes regularly!), then check out these food-related journals:

Fool
Gather Journal
Meatpaper
Modern Farmer
Put A Egg On It
Remedy Quarterly
White Zinfandel
The Gourmand
Saucy
Wilder Quarterly

And read more about the background and founders of these offerings at http://www.papermag.com/2013/05/the_new_foodieodicals.php

Have Your Mexican Food and Eat It Too!

If someone asked you where to go for a healthy meal out, would you recommend a Mexican restaurant?

Probably not…

Once you finish your complimentary basket of chips and salsa (or two) you can move on to a margarita while eating entrees loaded with cheese, and sides of rice and refried beans.

Not really a low calorie venture!

Did you know that you could easily take in more than 1000 calories, just eating the chips and salsa alone?

Or that most frozen margaritas start at about 600 calories – almost double that when it is on the rocks instead of frozen?

Cheese weighs in at about 110 calories an ounce, and there is usually a LOT of cheese on most dishes (and an ounce is really small).

But it actually IS possible to eat a healthy meal at a Mexican restaurant, you just have to make good choices.  It really isn’t that difficult to do, it just takes some willpower.

Skip the chips. (If this is difficult, you might try taking it home and asking them to leave out the chips…  It is easier if you don’t even see them.  Or waive them away before they hit your table!)

Pick the black beans rather than the refried beans.

Don’t eat the fried tortilla bowl on that taco salad – better yet, ask for it to be served on a plate, without the bowl.

Soft tacos are not fried.

Sarah Brooks gives you the lowdown on how you can have your Mexican Food and eat it too!  Check out her article on sheknows.com by clicking here. 

Image by Elisa Arteaga, used under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic license

SuperFish – Eat More Heart-Healthy Salmon!

Salmon is the third most popular seafood in the U.S., with about 66% of it imported from Norway, Chile. While the American Heart Association recommends having 2 servings of fatty fish – like salmon – 2 times per week, the average consumption is 2 pounds per year.

To get the heart benefits associated with the omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish oils, try this great way of cooking salmon.

Oh – another plus is in the onions. Onions help protect you from cancer AND lower blood pressure!

Sauteed Salmon with Caramelized Onion

1 lb Salmon
1 Large Sweet Onion
5 T White Wine
4 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Butter + 2 T Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dill Weed

Melt butter over medium heat, add olive oil. Turn the heat down slightly and saute the onions for 15 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add the wine and cook until the liquid is mostly cooked off. add the vinegar and cook another 1-2 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, pour some oil in a skillet. Heat over medium-high heat.

Season the fish with salt, pepper and dill weed. Cook in the pan, skin side down. Turn in 7-8 minutes. Continue cooking until fish flakes easily.

Serve the salmon topped with the caramelized onions, roasted asparagus, and a rice pilaf.

Can’t Eat Another Deviled Egg? Some Innovative Ideas For Leftover Easter Eggs

Did you dye a lot of eggs for Easter?

A lot of people are actively involved in creation of the Easter eggs with their children and grandchildren – and sometimes their friends.

But what do you do with all of those eggs once Easter is over?

There is always the usual Deviled Eggs (I’m a Miracle Whip deviled egg person myself…), which really are quite tasty, or egg salad sandwiches. Neither of these are bad options at all.

But if you are looking for something a little different this year, you may want to check out Emma Currie’s ideas on how to use leftover Easter eggs creatively.

She has several good ideas, and even includes a couple of recipes:

1. Pan Bagnat, which is a sandwich that originated from France (this one sounds quite good and I am going to try it!).

2. Kedgeree, which originates in Britain with some obviously Indian influence, is a dish with smoked fish, curry seasonings and Basmati rice. Probably will give this a go too!

Be sure to go out and read her article on The Morning Sun to get these yummy, new and different recipes for leftover boiled eggs.  You may decide that they are so good, you don’t need to wait for leftover Easter eggs to make them again!

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ – Homemade Pasta, That Is!

My husband always says that if you are what you eat, he would be a pasta.  Mostly a spaghetti.

I’m more of a ravioli myself, and I found this great video of how to make homemade chorizo ravioli (if you don’t like chorizo, you could substitute a different kind of sausage in this recipe).

Chorizo Ravioli from The Meatmen on Vimeo.

The authors of the video said that they experimented a LOT with this, and after 20 eggs or so, they finally felt like they got the pasta right!  It is highly recommended that you ONLY use egg yolks, like they show in the video, to get the best results.

You can also roll out the dough if you don’t have a pasta machine, although it will help make the job easier.

Happy Ravioli Making!

Barbara’s St Patrick’s Day Biscuit Recipe

Here is a great treat to try on St. Patricks day!

All you need is some sprigs of cilantro and my mother’s best biscuit recipe. These are baking powder biscuits, not the southern buttermilk variety, but I grew up eating these and they are TOTALLY awesome!

Pressing the cilantro leaf into the top before you bake them gives these biscuits the look of a shamrock, perfect for the holiday (and it tastes better than green beer, if you ask me!).

Make sure your baking powder is fresh so that they raise – I forgot to check mine once and they were – uh – flat:)

Here is the recipe for Barbara’s Biscuits (thank you Mom!):

Barbara’s (St Patrick’s Day) Biscuits

Preheat oven to 425º F

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp each cream of tartar and salt

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk

Cilantro Sprigs, most of stem torn off, leaving the leaf (see picture, above).

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add milk, and stir with a fork.

Turn out onto a floured board and kneed at least 20 times.  Roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter.  Place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Press a cilantro leaf into the center of each biscuit.  Makes 12 large biscuits.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serve while still warm. Great served with butter and honey, jam, or apple butter.  Also great with sausage gravy, or if made large enough, you can cut them in half and add egg, bacon or sausage, and cheese for a wonderful egg sandwich.

Be Better at Beating Baking Blunders

I love to bake. In my parent’s neighborhood, they call me the Cookie Lady. Every time I go out there I bake and bake and bake and then I go around the neighborhood with plates of cookies.

Great fun!

They live about 9 inches above sea level and I am at 8500 feet in the mountains, so it is particularly nice that what I bake down there actually turns out the way they are supposed to!  Well, most of the time.

Cooking at altitude is an interesting experience – I still haven’t gotten used to all the little tricks and tweaks you need to make up here to be sure things will turn out well!

But you can run into issues with baking even at sea level…

One of my favorite reviews of baking  mistakes was on thestir.cafemom.com recently. Don’t forget to read Adriana Velez’s readers comments too – they have some more mistakes listed there that I could identify with!  Adriana mentions things like using the wrong-sized pan(s) and not reading the recipe all the way through (I’ve done both of those more than once, I’m sorry to say!)

Five other baking blunders that came to mind for me:

1. You know how they tell you to grease and flour the pans in some recipes?  I like to spray mine with PAM, then I don’t get my hands all gooey. That works SOME of the time, but if you are baking a cake you are pretty likely to end up with chunks of your cake in the pan when you skip that step!  If the recipe says grease and flour, do it – what is one more hand washing anyway?

2. A continuation of the first item – parchment paper. Martha always tells you to use parchment paper when you make cookies. You know what? She’s right, it really helps. Don’t you hate that?

3. Using old spices. I forget to look at those darned expiration dates! But if you use old spices rather than getting new, the flavor will just not be what you want. A week after expiration? Probably fine. 3 years after expiration? Not so much…

bigstock-Happy-Woman-Baking-Cookies-74194234. Putting more than one cookie sheet in the oven at the same time. I have tried swapping shelves halfway through so they would both turn out OK. They don’t. If you want them to turn out the best way possible, only bake one sheet at a time.

5. When baking cookies, don’t try to get done faster by placing the dough too close together on the baking sheet.  You will end up with one big blob cookie. It might taste OK, but not really what you want to deliver to your Mom’s neighbors!

Oh – and one more.  Remember to resist the urge to open the oven door early to see if everything is OK!

To Eat After Dinner Or Not To Eat After Dinner, That Is The Question

We have heard for years that to control our weight, it is better to avoid eating anything after dinner – that our metabolism slows down and that snack(s) that we consume after that will hang around longer than we would like, draped across our stomachs and thighs.

That is probably the healthiest way to approach eating – nothing after dinner, and to eat more earlier in the day.  Breakfast like a king, Lunch like a prince, and Dinner like a pauper as the saying goes.

Which is actually pretty sound advice. And for those of us that aren’t all that fond of a big breakfast – or don’t have the time for it – having your biggest meal at lunchtime can be helpful as well. Your body is still in burn mode at that time of the day.

I’ve also read several articles lately about sweets, and that it is actually NOT a terrible thing to have them, but to be sure to eat them early in the day – breakfast or lunch – than saving them for after dinner. I know I FEEL better when I eat sweets early in the day. It also makes getting to sleep easier without all that extra glucose running around through your system!

If you crave snacks after dinner and are looking for ways to change that behavior, you could try drinking a big glass of water, and then brushing your teeth. The water will make you feel full, and after getting your mouth nice and clean, it is less tempting to put those potato chips in there…

Engaging in activities that hold your attention can help too. Go for an evening walk after you finish the dishes, or take up a hobby like scrap-booking.

If you still find that you want to eat a snack, here is some advice from the Biggest Losers:

Yes, you can eat just one cracker! With Salmon...

Yes, you can eat just one cracker! With Salmon…

1. Wraps using a small low-carb tortilla with veggies and humus or grilled chicken (hold the mayo!).

2. Sugar-free hot chocolate.

3. Sliced apple with peanut butter.

4. Low-fat popcorn, or air-popped with butter spray.

5. smoked salmon on a whole grain rye cracker (that is ONE cracker, not the box!).

Are you a night-time snacker?

Greens, Eggs, and Ham Pizza (We Think Dr. Seuss Would Approve)

Did you love Dr. Seuss as much as I did? I read his books over and over again as a kid – one of my favorites was Green Eggs and Ham.

And when I was thinking about something different to have for breakfast, this is what jumped into my head!

So give it a try and let us know if you like it!

Greens, Eggs, and Ham Breakfast Pizza

1 can Pillsbury Artison pizza crust with whole grain
2 cups shredded cheese (whatever you love most!)
2 strips Bacon, cut into small pieces
6 oz. ham, diced
1/3 cup green onion or regular onion
8 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
5 eggs
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Cracked pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F (425 if using other than nonstick or dark pan).  Spray jellyroll pan (15 X 10 pan with sides) with cooking spray.

In medium skillet, cook bacon, ham, and onion together until bacon is browned and onion getting soft (add a little olive oil if you need a bit more fat to cook). Add the eggs and cook until done to your taste. Remove from pan.

Add spinach to pan, and cook with garlic for 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Unroll dough in jellyroll pan.  Press dough into rectangle, starting at the center.  Bake for 6-8 minutes or until light brown.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups cheese on hot crust, then top with spinach mixture.

Scatter egg/ham mixture over spinach, and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Place back in oven until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let cools slightly.  Cut into 8 portions and serve while warm.

Images from Bigstockphoto.com

Risk Of Stroke Is Tied to What You Eat (And What You Don’t)

New information seems to point to the possibility that 2/3 of the “attributable” risk of stroke (not sure exactly what that means…) is due to diet.

We’ve known for a long time that diet is one of the areas that can raise or lower the risk of stroke, but the fact that recent research has shown that it might be much more significant is kind of exciting – you can’t do much about your genetics but you can change what you eat!

The participants in the study referenced on theheart.org were all age 45 and older. They answered questions about their food patterns and when all the information was gathered, there were 5 basic dietary patterns that resulted:

Diet of Convenience – Mexican/Chinese, both meat and beans – think take away!
Plant-based including grains and lean meats – fruits/veggies, cereal, fish/poultry
Sweets and White Flour – breads, chocolate, desserts, pastries, added fats
Southern – fried food, organ and processed meat, fatty milk, added fats
Alcohol – beer/wine/liquor, green leafy veggies with salad dressing, coffee, nuts, seeds

So these are not “diet plans” per se – just mathematical breakdowns of the types of food the participants typically ate  – and it doesn’t mean people fell strictly into one category or another.

People that followed the “Southern” plan tended to not only eat a lot of fried foods, but fried foods that were fried in things like bacon fat, which resulted in  vegetables dishes that  contained significant amounts of animal fat. This way of eating resulted in a 30% greater risk of stroke after being adjusted for other factors such as activity, smoking, age, etc.

[box type=”warning” align=”alignleft” ]Large amounts of animal fats can clog your blood vessels, and increase risk of both heart damage and stroke.[/box]

The good news is that those that ate largely from the plant-based model had a 20% reduction in their risk – pointing to that type of diet being more protective from stroke risk.

Of course, as always there were lot of questions raised by this study, and more research needs to be done.  Perhaps stroke risk is increased by both eating unhealthy food and NOT eating enough healthy plant food. They want to study that more closely.

In the meantime, pass the spinach please (er, the one that wasn’t cooked in bacon fat!).

Image by sleepyneko on Flickr.

What is So Special About The Mediterranean Diet?

You see a lot of articles promoting the Mediterranean diet. What is this way of eating that has people so excited?

In a sea of 29 diets, U.S. News and World Report rated it #4 in their 2013 rankings, behind the DASH diet (created partially by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to help prevent and lower high blood pressure), Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet (created by the National Institutes of Health), and the Mayo Clinic Diet (pretty obvious where this one came from!).

The Mediterranean Diet was developed under the theory that since the people who live in that area seem to live longer and with less pain than many Americans, that following their lifestyle could help us with that too.

This plan includes mostly fruits and vegetables, unrefined grains, beans, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Dairy and eggs are included to a lesser degree. Red meat and the associated saturated fat is minimal, along with sodium and sweets.

You can have wine in moderation (I usually put mine in a glass).

This diet plan has been around since 1945, but it never really hit the mainstream until the 1990’s. Since that time there have been many studies conducted around the plan.

Research shows that following this eating plan can help protect against Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s good for supporting healthy levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar.

If you decide to follow this plan, don’t forget that “lifestyle” part – that means you need to plan to exercise regularly along with the eating plan. 2 1/2 hours of moderate activity every week is recommended as a minimum, along with some resistance training.

There are a lot of advantages to this way of eating, the only downfall is that it can be a little bit expensive with all of the fresh produce and seafood. You can get some help with this if you live close to a warehouse like Costco or Sam’s where the produce is less expensive and you can buy fish in big bags that is individually wrapped, which can be significantly less expensive than what you find at your local grocery store.

Image by Andrea Pavanello of Milan, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Italy License

What Is In Your Food? 5 Additives to Avoid

Fox News recently had an interview with the authors of Rich Food Poor Food, discussing various food additives that are allowed to be used in this country but are often banned in other countries.

Watch this video to be sure you know ingredients to look for and avoid at the grocery!

http://youtu.be/-wHH0IGxphE

A summary of the ingredients discussed in this video:

1. Counterfeit colors, carcinogenic in nature – Blue #1 and #2, Yellow #5 and #6

2. Olestra – they call it Frankenfat (great word!) which depletes the bodies ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins and cause gastrointestinal upset.

3. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) – reduces the thyroids ability to absorb iodine, necessary to its functioning.

4. Potassium Bromate – used to strengthen dough used in bread. This ingredient can cause kidney or nervous system disorders.

5. Azodicarbonamide – found in foamed plastics and bread. This can cause asthma.

Don’t forget to read those labels!

Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS)
Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS)

Every Thing Small Is Appealing, Right?

I love small stuff – small animals, mini vegetables, little clothes…  I think even when it’s ugly full sized, it is nicer when it’s small (well, um, that goes for most things!!).

That is why tapas got so popular, and why so many people order appetizers. I quite often make a meal out of appetizers.

Here is an idea for very small pizzas, that are also super-easy to make.

You need a mini muffin tin with 24 slots to bake them in

Tiny Deep-Dish Pizzas

1 can of biscuit dough (8 biscuits)

1 jar of Ragu Pizza sauce

Turkey Pepperoni, diced -OR- 6 oz. bulk Italian sausage

Chopped, fresh mushrooms (the number will depend on their size)

1  cup shredded mozzarella

3-4 T Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cut Biscuit into thirds. Spray a mini-muffin pan with Pam. Press 1 piece of biscuit dough into each muffin slot, press and spread the dough up the sides.

Press a heaping teaspoon of sausage or pepperoni into the dough and sprinkle some mushroom bits on that. Sprinkle with Mozzarella, then add 2 teaspoons of sauce followed by a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until crusts are turning golden brown.  Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Best when served warm.  Enjoy!