|Image from Wikimedia Commons|
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Try this recipe! It was extremely easy and quick (altogether about 45 minutes). Perfect for a dinner for one (or more, if you are lucky to have the company!), and I am looking forward to the leftovers...yum. If your store doesn't stock kabocha squash, try substituting a smaller-sized butternut, like I did. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
|Image from http://www.worldchanging.com|
"BlueOcean.org; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (RED); all three populations overfished with very low abundance due to ineffective management; Env Defense Fund Advisory: high mercury; Reply BLUE for txt message updates"
Monday, January 10, 2011
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or try sesame or peanut oils for a nutty flavor!)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cups broccolini florets and stems
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 black radish, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups sugar snap peas
2 whole carrots, shredded (break out that Swissmar peeler!)
crushed red pepper flakes
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (scrape with fork to remove skin) and thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large sautee pan. brown garlic in oil. turn up heat to medium, and brown mushrooms. add veggies, one at a time, to allow for browning and adding a pinch of salt with each addition. when veggies are tender and brown, flavor with crushed red pepper and ginger. form a hole in the center and crack two eggs into the hole, break the yolks, and scramble to cook through. now, stir it up! enjoy over brown rice, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and a bit of soy sauce. yum.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
|Image from http://www.bonappetit.com/|
Let's take a closer look...
We will compare a medium regular potato to a large sweet potato, as sweet potatoes are smaller by nature (or, perhaps, because the US needs to maintain its status as the largest exporter of potato products--french fries, chips, flour--worldwide...). Anyway, these servings equal to about 180 grams, or just under 1 cup of potato. So, comparatively, both varieties of potato contain the same caloric ratio of carbohydrate (92%) to fat (6%) to protein (7%) and, therefore, provide the same amount of calories per serving (160 calories). But, that is where the similarities end.
Alright, here comes the big answer...
Sweet potatoes pack in more fiber (6 grams versus 4 grams) causing a higher fullness factor, a lower glycemic load (15 versus 17) keeping your blood sugar levels more stable, are strongly anti-inflammatory (versus the moderate inflammation caused by a regular potato), and provide over two times the vitamin C content (59% versus 28%) and a whopping 692% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, while the potato lacks this vitamin altogether. Unfortunately, there is a flip side which I alluded to earlier regarding the taste. Although its natural sugars make for a great alternative to the sugar that makes your favorite cookies taste so darn good, the sweetness does not come without a price, as each serving contains 12 grams of sugar (10 grams more than a regular potato). Likewise, the sodium content is higher, as well.
So, there you go. The nutritional breakdown of two seemingly similar vegetables with shockingly different nutritional makeups. You decide which one to reach for on the baked potato bar next time but, if you go for the sweet ones, you can rest in peace (full and orange) knowing that you have countered inflammation and done your eyesight a favor all in one. I don't know about you, but I'm sticking with my sweet ones!
Learn more about the potato and how the US rakes in more than $180 million each year on its products here.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Since the first day of the year should just be considered a day of rest after all of the holiday indulgences reached a climax, MY new year starts today! Although I considered formulating a life-altering resolution for the new year, I realized in the process that simply getting back into my pre-holiday season routine will be just the ticket to starting off the new year with a bang. I do have a few goals in mind, however, some short-term (over the next month) and several longer-term (within the next year). In the short-term, I plan to cook up some great meals and have the January issue of Bon Appetit to thank for the inspiration! Check out The Food Lover's Cleanse, listen to the great advice given by my friend, registered dietitian Marissa Lippert (author of The Cheater's Diet), and stay tuned for some simple, fresh, and healthy recipes posted by The Moody Foodie!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
On the other hand, the new system categorizes fruits and most vegetables as point-free foods. Smart idea! Although fruits and vegetables are low in calories, they are still there (even celery...and just to clarify, there is no such thing as "negative calories"). However, they are full of fiber and water and will fill the stomach with tasty nutrients and minerals, leaving less space for the not-so-healthy (and not-so-filling) food that we Americans love. As nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables fill us up, consuming foods that are high in fats, sugars, salt, and refined carbohydrates trick our bodies into wanting more, more, more! See David Kessler's book The End of Overeating for more on the chemical effect of these foods on the brain, causing overeating.
As Weight Watchers has allowed for so many Americans to get on track to a healthier weight, I hope it has the same great influence under its new program, as it allows for greater awareness of nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet. Hooray!
Read about the new PointPlus program here: "Weight Watchers Upends its Point System," NY Times
DISCLAIMER: Do not proceed to eat fruit and vegetables all day long. Yes, you will lose weight, but you will be miserable from the bloating, cramps, and great deal of time on the toilet. Rather, include fruits and/or vegetables in every meal to fill you up, but it is important also consume whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins for the body to build strength and energy! Try to construct meals that include a little bit of each of these, and you will be happy and healthy.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Check out the article, "Epilepsy's Big, Fat Miracle," printed in the New York Times today (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/magazine/21Epilepsy-t.html?pagewanted=2). This is an extremely interesting example of the profound impact that food has on the body. Sam is undergoing treatment for severe epilepsy that cannot be controlled by drug treatments. Instead, his doctor prescribed a ketogenic diet, consisting of almost solely high-fat foods and strictly limiting carbohydrates, in order to force the body into a form of starvation. Carbohydrates are the brain's ideal source of energy, but when they are in short supply, the body is able to use fat instead. For Sam, this is just what his brain needs in order to decrease the amount of seizures he experiences each day by 75%! Oh, the power of food. It still continues to amaze me, and it excites me that doctors are looking to food to provide treatment for an array of diseases.
Although this is an extreme case, and otherwise you will never hear me support a diet in which entire macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrates) are neglected, it reinforces the recurring theme throughout my study of nutrition that every body requires its own unique diet. It is so disappointing to me that so many people assume that if they follow the same diet that may work for someone else--for weight loss, weight management, or even energy level--they will experience the same results. WRONG. Every body is different and has its own ideal diet. I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to one's body and learning the language that it speaks. I know that it is not easy to always listen to your body. It is difficult to learn, especially when you are often running on schedules other than your own, but you only have this one body, so don't you want to take the time to get to know it? You could find that you feel more like yourself than you ever have before It takes time and patience and, I hate to say it to all of you whose lives don't allow for it, but it helps to have a routine.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Kahlua Dark Chocolate Truffles
Makes 15-20 truffles, depending on size (about 100 calories each)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or bag of dark chocolate chunks)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/4 cup Kahlua
Unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling the truffles
Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the espresso, cinnamon, and Kahlua, cover, and remove from heat for 5 minutes. Strain the coconut milk mixture directly into the chocolate, using a fine-mesh strainer. Stir the chocolate mixture until the chocolate is uniformly melted and the coconut milk has been incorporated. Refrigerate the chocolate until firm, about 2 hours.
Sift cocoa into a bowl. Using a measuring spoon, scoop up 1 teaspoon of chocolate and quickly roll into a ball about 3/4-inch across. Drop into cocoa; roll each truffle in cocoa to coat. Chill until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Now that we have cleared that up, let's get back to GRATIN. After my recent post, a friend requested that I share the recipe of the gratin that I cooked up for her earlier in the season when summer squash was at the peak of its season and piled high at the farmers' market in Lincoln Park, Chicago. This recipe, just like the Fennel and Leek Gratin, uses cheeses lower in fat (i.e. feta, cottage cheese) than the typical "go-to" cheese for baked egg dishes, Gruyere, keeping the calories and fats in check. You do need a few more pieces of equipment for this one (i.e. grater, sieve), however, so make sure that you (always!) read over the recipe before you get started.
Okay, so enough of the prattle. Here you go, Jam!
Summer Squash and Cottage Cheese Gratin
1 1/2 pounds summer squash (can be yellow, green or a mixture)
Salt to taste
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1. Place the cottage cheese in a strainer set over a bowl, and drain for 20 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Grate the squash, and place in a large bowl or colander. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess water, then squeeze in a towel to dry.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir for another 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cottage cheese, parsley, dill, Gruyère, onion and garlic, and squash. Combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and scrape into the oiled baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes before serving. You can also serve this warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves six.
Advance preparation: You can grate and salt the squash several hours before you make the gratin. The gratin will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, and can be reheated or served cold or at room temperature.
Nutritional information per serving (using 2 percent low-fat cottage cheese): 174 calories; 9 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 153 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 315 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 16 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (using fat-free cottage cheese): 162 calories; 7 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 149 milligrams cholesterol; 19 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 353 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 16 grams protein
Recipe source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/health/nutrition/16recipehealth.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=summer%20squash%20and%20cottage%20cheese%20gratin&st=cse
Thursday, November 18, 2010
...is knowing that with every sip (okay, I admit, gulp), I am NOT destroying the Earth. If you choose to disregard the benefits of eating organic (lack of pesticides, encouragement of biodiversity, supporting small farms, etc.), please consider choosing organic coffee from this point on. I attended a lecture a couple of weekends ago titled The Green Revolution at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston and learned a great deal of information on how to purchase, prepare, and eat food in an eco-friendly AND nutritious way. Can you guess the top three countries with the highest emission of greenhouse gases?? One and two are pretty easy: China and the United States, but with Indonesia close behind, something has to be wrong. It is all due to deforestation, the clearing of fields for the production of oil palm, timber, and--you guessed it--coffee. So, the least we can do is trek (walk or ride a bike, of course!) to the grocery store (not Starbucks!) and buy a bag of ORGANIC coffee.
Right now, I am enjoying organic Allegro coffee from Whole Foods!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Think that I have lost my mind? I haven't. I have just returned from a lovely lunch with two handsome fellows with whom I shared a simple seasonal appetizer of figs with ricotta salata. The most common type of fig is the Brown Turkey...possibly the perfect compliment to that deep-fried (per my father's favorite preparation) hunk of animal flesh that will sit atop your table a week from now!
Here is a recipe to consider as an appetizer for your Thanksgiving get together:
Oh, and Ms. Black, you should really get on Coca-Cola's back about updating their list of board members.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This is the third gratin recipe that I have cooked this fall and, like usual, got this from Martha Rose! Gratins are so easy to make because the measurement of each ingredient does not have to be right on, so it is a foolproof dish that tastes great every time. I think it is even better as leftovers which is great because I only have to cook once this week, and I still have a nice hearty meal waiting in the fridge for me when I get home late from class this week. I like to get creative with the leftovers, enjoying the gratin all sorts of ways...I like it cold over toasted "Seeduction" bread from Whole Foods for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Fennel and Leek Gratin With Feta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and chopped (about 4 cups chopped)
1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped (about 3 cups chopped leeks)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
4 large eggs, beaten
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the fennel and leeks. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add salt to taste, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the fennel and leeks are very tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and stir together for another minute or two, then stir in the dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Crumble in the feta, and stir in the fennel mixture. Combine well. Scrape into the baking dish, and bake 35 to 40 minutes until set and the top and sides are beginning to color. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This is good hot, warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves four as a main dish, six as a side.
Advance preparation: You can make the filling up to two days ahead through step 1; keep it in the refrigerator in a covered container. The gratin can be made up to a day ahead and reheated in a medium oven for about 20 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving (based on six servings): 201 calories; 11 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 154 milligrams cholesterol; 19 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams dietary fiber; 293 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 9 grams protein
If you have been able to keep up with my rapid onslaught of posts on this inaugural day, you may be itching to know where you can read more about cupcakes (on a much happier note than mine). I recently referred to the saleswoman by day, blogger by night, and cupcake-lover all day long, author of the newly reinstated blog, Coup de Cake, which you can find at http://coupdecakeblog.wordpress.com/! Recently relocated to Chicago, although deeply missed in NYC, she will keep you posted on her search for the greatest cupcake on Earth. I can only wait to hear what she has to say about the big ban on her most loved dessert not far from our hometown. Check out her blog for a little bit of temptation with a side of comic relief!
This one may hit a little too close to home for someone I know (hint: fellow blogger known for her search, high and low, for the perfect cupcake on her blog Coup de Cake). Although I am a staunch cupcake-hater, I found myself rolling my eyes in disgust while reading the article in the Detroit News about schools banning children from bringing in cupcakes on their birthdays. It is an interesting concept, especially since in exchange they are celebrating birthdays by extending recess time, but I cannot imagine that kids are eating less junk food or, in the bigger picture, becoming less obese. We should not be barring our children from tasty sweets, especially those that are homemade, as people have been celebrating special occasions with delicious food since biblical times. We SHOULD be teaching them to enjoy small amounts of sweets sporadically, allowing them to learn for themselves that they will taste much better that way! The first bite is always the best...
Remember: Enjoy what you love in moderation--even whole grains, running, and scrubbing the kitchen counters, in my case--and you will never have to give up what you love.
Ok, so I am going to have to warn you now...studying nutrition is NOT pretty, although you may not believe me when I say it, especially because a recurring topic of conversation between my roommate and I (Suzy, NYU's newest dietetic intern!) is exactly how "pretty" everyone is in the Clinical Nutrition program at NYU. Today, I am studying medical nutrition therapy for liver disease. So, I figured that I would give you a little taste of what it is like to go from leaning over a pot of simmering carrot soup (see below) to turning the page of a textbook to reveal a hideous picture much like the one shown here.
Alcoholic liver disease is the most common liver disease in the United States. In my textbook, Krause states that "alcohol problems are highest among young adults 18 to 29 years of age..." Uh oh, that includes me and all of my friends. As you may have read in "ABOUT ME," I love red wine. Although drinking red wine can have some benefits such as antioxidants and a social life, the downsides include more than just purple teeth: one of these being that acetaldehyde, the breakdown product of alcohol in the body, causes damage to your liver, leading to the build up of fatty acids and, eventually, liver cirrhosis. YUCK.
Martha Rose Shulman is the writer for the New York Times' column, Recipes for Health. It won't take long for you to notice that her recipes are those that I most frequently rely on when I am in the mood to try something new. She uses simple, seasonal ingredients and often gives several variations of a recipe or several ways to incorporate a seasonal item (from your local farmers' market, of course!) into a few recipes. I have a mad crush on her, basically...
So, while I study for tomorrow night's Clinical Nutrition Assessment exam on gastrointestinal, oncology, and liver medical nutrition therapy, I am cooking up this recent recipe published on her site...Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup!
I like to make soup on the days when I am stuck inside my apartment (UWS, NYC), so that I feel like I have a real reason to be next to the stove all day long.
Stay tuned for the rest of the dinner that will accompany this delicious-smelling, beta carotene PACKED puree of yumminess...
Check out the recipe: