Anise Pine Nut Biscotti

You may be using pine nuts in your pesto sauce but did you know they make a great biscotti. Coupled with anise seed these Anise Pine Nut Biscotti are a perfect  accompaniment t a cup of tea or coffee.  Plus these nuts are rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

They contain an excellent source of magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and niacin. They are a good source of folic acid and also contain riboflavin and vitamin B6. Pine nuts are rich in fiber and unsaturated fats - the healthy fats.

Pine nuts are used in salads, stuffings, sauces, puddings and cookies. They decorate and flavor flans, cakes, pastries, meat and fish. And of course the ubiquitous Pesto Sauce.  

Pine Nut Biscotti - perfect treat for your sweet tooth!

Pine Nut Biscotti - perfect treat for your sweet tooth!

Squash Time!

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We are constantly reminded to eat more seasonal vegetables, which is easy during the summer months. When fall rolls around we may be at a loss, but let’s not forget the squash family. Winter squash is abundant now and in peak of flavor.  Winter squash is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A and also contain vitamin C, folic acid, pantothenic acid and copper.  A half-cup of cooked winter squash has about 40 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

Squash is related to the melon and cucumber plant. There are two main categories of squash: summer and winter squash. The better known of the summer squash is the zucchini squash. Among several varieties the zucchini is the most common.  It has a fragile, tender edible skin and seeds.  The winter squash has a drier, orange flesh and is more fibrous and much sweeter than summer squash. The skin of winter squash is not edible. There are several varieties of winter squash. The butternut squash is most commonly utilized in everyday cooking.   

 

Risotto is all the rage on restaurants’ menus. Below is my version of risotto. It   uses butternut squash and is delicious and much healthier than what maybe found on a restaurant menu.

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Risotto

Makes: 8 servings               

The butternut squash gives beautiful color and adds to the creamy texture. White short grain rice is ideal for risotto. Brown rice does not work well in this recipe as the bran prevents the grain from releasing its starch. To make whole grain risotto pearled barley can be substituted.

2 ½ cups butternut squash or Hubbard, cleaned and diced

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

½ cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 ¾ cup Arborio rice or short grain rice

3 ½ cups beef broth plus ½ cup water heated or vegetable broth

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan heat oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat for 1 minute. Add squash, garlic and onion; sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat with oil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

2. Add about 1 cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Continue adding broth about half cup at a time and continuously stirring until it is absorbed. Continue this process until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.  The squash will start to disintegrate, as it should. Toward the end of the cooking process add broth in smaller amounts so that when rice is cooked not much liquid is present.  It should be quite creamy when ready. Stir in the remaining butter, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve immediately with extra grated Parmesan. 

 Tip: Risotto is a cooking technique; hot liquid is added gradually to help release starch from the grain resulting in a creamy texture. Adding different ingredients to the usual base of butter or oil   and onions can vary the risotto.   Additions can be shellfish, ground or diced meats, most vegetables and herbs.

Quinoa Salad

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Quick and easy! Quinoa with tomatoes and baby spinach, topped with grilled chicken!

Quinoa with tomatoes and baby spinach salad

Serves 4          

Fast and easy, Quinoa is an ancient grain its complete protein profile also makes it a vegetarian friendly entree.  Ready in less than 30 minutes.        

                                       

Ingredients:

1-tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed and well drained

2 cups chicken broth, reduced sodium or water

2-cups baby spinach

2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes cut in half

Salt and pepper to taste

 Grilled chicken

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add Quinoa, stirring constantly (prevents sticking) for1-2 minutes.  Add broth or water. Stir,  bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add baby spinach and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes with lid on. Fluff with fork and transfer to a bowl and combine with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grilled chicken.  

Anti-Inflammation Diet

These are some of the delicious Mediterranean dishes I enjoyed in my trip to Greece this summer. Delicious and part of a low inflammation eating pattern - what's not to love!!

 

A low inflammation diet is consistent with a healthy eating pattern and weight control. This type of diet is also recommended for reducing heart disease and diabetes risk, and follows the same principles as the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. 

Nutrients You Need

Ideal recipe for the hazy lazy days of summer!

Quick, Satisfying And Vitamin Rich Dish

Do you find that getting dinner on the table is almost always a race to beat the clock and making it nutritious can be an even bigger task. This is especially true during summer when many activities are clamoring for your attention. Keeping meals healthy even with the readily available fresh vegetables of the season can be challenging.

Solution

 A sensible solution to this daily challenge is to have a few go to recipes that are ready in minutes.  Here I have a quick and easy complete meal recipe Fennel-Basil Shrimp Sauté, (recipe follows) which takes advantage of quick cooking vegetables and shrimp. In addition to the ease of this dish it is nutrient packed to boot.

Nutrient rich vegetables – fennel, tomatoes and spinach – are jam packed with potassium and other essential elements.  Potassium is critical in lowering blood pressure and vegetables’ low caloric content is key for weight loss. Plus fennel   contains vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, calcium and phosphate. Fennel’s flavor is reminiscent of aniseed or licorice.  Tomatoes offer vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin A. Spinach is another power house of nutrients and also rich in iron. Both fennel and tomatoes are diuretics. The pasta provides some complex carbohydrate for staying power,  if desired wholegrain pasta can be used fro more fiber.

 Beat the dinner clock this summer and stay healthy at the same time. Simple home cooked dishes such as this Fennel Basil Shrimp Sauté dish is a sure way to keep you on time and on your diet track. 

 

 

Fennel-Basil Shrimp Sautee

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 shallot, sliced

½ cup fennel, diced

1-pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

¼ cup chicken stock

1 pint grape tomatoes

¼ - pound baby spinach, washed

6 basil leaves

 8 oz. bowtie pasta cook according to package directions

In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add shallot and fennel and tomatoes. Cook three minutes. Add shrimp and chicken stock. Cook until shrimp is done. Add spinach cook for one minute. Add Basil and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Serve.

Colorful Veggie Platter

Need a light appetizer or veggie platter and bored with the usual carrot celery sticks? This colorful veggie platter will fit your needs. These quickly blanched zucchini in the shape of sticks and ribbons along with corn, broccoli and asparagus spears can be served with a favorite dressing. This tray not only looks good it is good for you. The vitamins and minerals in the vegetables are a bonus. Stay healthy!!

Think Summer Menu!

This cucumber relish truly offers Mediterranean goodness. It replaces the pickles with jalapeño and uses a combination of summer favorites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Low in calories makes it a great side to any sandwich or meat.  

This cucumber relish truly offers Mediterranean goodness. It replaces the pickles with jalapeño and uses a combination of summer favorites, tomatoes and cucumbers. Low in calories makes it a great side to any sandwich or meat.  

Cucumber Relish

Ingredients
1 cup seedless cucumber with skin, diced
1 cup tomato, seeded and diced
½ cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions 
1. Toss all ingredients together.
2. Taste for seasoning. 
3. Serve as a relish. 
TIP If you get excess liquid, drain the relish and use it as part of a salad dressing. Toss with mixed greens.

Flavor Makers

Curried Barley with Fruit  .  Spices and dried fruits are the flavor makers in this delicious grain dish.

Curried Barley with Fruit.  Spices and dried fruits are the flavor makers in this delicious grain dish.

Curried barley with fruit

Serves 4            

The spices and dried fruits provide so many flavors that no salt is needed. Brown rice makes a good substitute for the barley if desired.

3 cups water

¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup raisins

1 teaspoons orange zest

2-teaspoons curry powder

2-teaspoons cumin

1- cup pearl barley   

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan combine water with apricots, cranberries, raisins, zest, curry and cumin. Bring to a boil. Add the pearl barley; reduce heat, cover, and cook until the barley is tender about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent barley from sticking to bottom of pan. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley and walnuts before serving.

Healthier Protein Sources

Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

Pasta and Beans an example of a healthier protein choice!

 Most Americans consume substantially more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance  (RDA); these recommended amounts are the average daily requirements for healthy people.  All animal foods and their products, and plant foods such as dry beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds are considered protein sources.  

Too much of a good thing

Eating too much protein has no benefit. Contrary to popular belief, consuming more protein will not result in bigger muscles, stronger bones or increased immunity. Similar to carbohydrates and fats, protein is an energy-yielding nutrient. Such nutrients furnish calories the body needs to carry out its functions. If too many calories are taken in, the extra protein is not stored as protein but rather is converted to and stored as fat.  All excess calories, regardless of the source -- carbohydrate, fat or protein -- are stored as fat.

Consuming high amounts of protein can be bad for your health, especially if you eat a lot of high-fat animal proteins, such as hamburgers and cheese, and few plant proteins. High-fat animal foods contain significant amounts of saturated fat, which raises your level of blood cholesterol and increases your risk of heart disease. Another negative effect when eating too many high protein, high-fat foods is weight gain, from simply consuming too many calories.  

Go for balance

Plant sources of protein (beans, peas, soybeans, nuts and seeds) are a healthier choice. For the most part, they contain less fat and more fiber- although nuts and seeds can be high in fat, it is the healthy kind. Plant foods also contain no cholesterol and are rich in vitamins and minerals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average person consume five and a half ounces of protein foods daily. This intake is based on the premise that individuals consume protein from both animal and plant sources.

 Balance your protein sources and make meals healthier. Several times a week make plant protein, such as beans, the centerpiece of your plate and use animal-based protein in small quantities to embellish. Instead of macaroni and cheese try pasta and beans; make hummus or bean dip spread your sandwich filling in place of deli meats, beans and tuna fish is an combination; when dining out order a complete main dish such as chicken broccoli and ziti.    

Protein is certainly vital for proper growth and to keeping our bodies in good working form. To obtain the benefits of this essential nutrient and minimize the damage of the high-fat sources, balance your choices of protein-rich foods.  Keep protein harmony on your plate and give both lean animal and plant foods equal billing.   

Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto

Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto. Healthy protein source and a great brown bag lunch alternative!

Warm Cannellini Salad With Prosciutto. Healthy protein source and a great brown bag lunch alternative!

Warm Cannellini Salad with prosciutto

Serves : 6       prep time: 15 minutes                     cook time: 25 minutes

I have made this recipe for parties and cooking demonstrations and it’s always a success. The prosciutto really takes the beans to new height.  Great salad for a brown bag lunch.  

4 to 6 slices prosciutto (3 to 4 oz.)

3 tablespoons Olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon snipped sage

4 cups fresh arugula, bite size or mixed greens

1 -19 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained 

1/8-teaspoon salt

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes (until you become familiar with the process, keep checking on the prosciutto after 15 minutes) or when it appears crispy (do not move prosciutto during baking). Remove from oven. Crumble with hands when cool. Set aside.

2.    In a small saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook oil until it begins to brown. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, sage, and salt, set aside.

3.    Arrange arugula on serving platter and top with beans then prosciutto. Drizzle with warm dressing. Serve immediately.

Tip: make prosciutto crispy on the stovetop by placing it in a skillet in a single layer and cook on medium heat until crispy. Remove from skillet and let cool. Crumble with hands.

When Choosing Protein

Getting your protein from the right foods goes a long way towards well being.

Lean meats and plant protein are your best choices. You get nutrients you need without the fat you don't need. 

Here are tips, from www.ChooseMyPlate to help you make wise choices from the Protein Foods Group.

Go lean with protein:

  • The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • Choose lean ground beef. To be considered "lean," the product has to be at least 92% lean/8% fat.
  • Buy skinless chicken parts, or take off the skin before cooking.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
  • Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon/deli meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.
     

Vary your protein choices:

  • Choose seafood at least twice a week as the main protein food. Look for seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring. Some ideas are:
    • Salmon steak or filet
    • Salmon loaf
    • Grilled or baked trout
  • Choose beans, peas, or soy products as a main dish or part of a meal often. Some choices are:
    • Chili with kidney or pinto beans
    • Stir-fried tofu
    • Split pea, lentil, minestrone, or white bean soups
    • Baked beans
    • Black bean enchiladas
    • Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef’s salad
    • Rice and beans
    • Veggie burgers
    • Hummus (chickpeas spread) on pita bread
  • Choose unsalted nuts as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes. Use nuts to replace meat or poultry, not in addition to these items:
    • Use pine nuts in pesto sauce for pasta.
    • Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables.
    • Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat.
    • Sprinkle a few nuts on top of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat.

Dark Leafy Greens To The Rescue

 

 Health benefits of dark leafy greens   

With today’s pace and high levels of stress, many of us suffer low energy along with assorted other maladies and health conditions. As we age, we may develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or acid reflux. Even those with no prior weight challenges may notice an expanding waistline. 

Dark leafy greens to the rescue

This spring, make room for some dark leafy greens among your flower gardens. Dark leafy greens – including Swiss chard, dandelion greens, collard greens, arugula, turnip greens, bok choy -- yield an abundance of health benefits you won’t want your body to miss out on. These powerhouse greens offer hefty doses of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In addition to fiber, dark leafy greens supply nutrients such as folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin E and minerals - magnesium and potassium, nutrients often in short supply in the diet of many individuals. Consuming just 1 ½ cups cooked per week contributes significantly in promoting, and maintaining good health and managing nutrition related conditions.

Here is the rundown on their function in the body and health:

Folate is abundant in  green leafy vegetables. The name folate is derived from the word foliage. A deficiency of this nutrient can result in anemia, diminished immunity, and abnormal digestive function.

Vitamin A plays a major role in eye health, cell reproduction, growth and the immune system. In leafy greens vitamin A is in the beta-carotene form, which the body converts to active vitamin A as needed.  In animal products Vitamin A is already in its active form.  

Vitamin C is often associated with citrus fruits but surprisingly leafy greens offer a substantial amount as well.  Vitamin C protects against infections, is an antioxidant, maintains collagen and helps absorb iron from food.

Vitamin K is essential for the blood clotting mechanism.  Individuals on blood thinner medication need to manage the intake of these vegetables.  

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and guards the body against free radicals that can damage lipids and lipoproteins. This can create inflammation and cell damage associated with the aging process and chronic diseases.

Magnesium has many important functions in the body. It is essential for strong bones and teeth; proper working of muscles and nerves including the heart and a strong immune system. It also works to fight inflammation.

Potassium plays a major role in maintaining fluid balance. Studies show that diets with ample potassium are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  

Fiber content of dark leafy greens is impressive as well. They contain about 4 -5 grams of fiber per 1 cup cooked. Fiber keeps the intestinal tract healthy.

In addition to their vast array of nutrients, these dark green leafy vegetables are easy to grow and prepare. Enjoy those colorful green leaves from your garden or the supermarket shelf.  Take advantage of the nutritional contribution of these flavorful vegetables and take pride in feeding your body well.

Cooking Tip:

While many leafy greens are fabulous tossed in salads, sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs brings out a rich flavor. Check out my version of sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts.  Adapted from my cookbook Delicious Simplicity Recipes for Today’s Busy Life.

 Sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Easy, simple and delicious.  

 Sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Easy, simple and delicious.  

Bring Eating From Within to your workplace! Contact me to learn more about my corporate wellness programs.

 

Anna Tourkakis is a nutritionist, author and founder of Eating From Within Nutrition. She provides nutrition advisory services and healthy eating programs to companies and individuals to help clients manage health conditions and maintain healthy eating lifestyles.  Anna can be reached at anna@eatingfromwithin.com

T. 781 334-8752; www.eatingfromwithin.com  

Beans with Swiss Chard

Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes. A delicious way to get more fiber in your diet.  This recipe is ideal for a wrap sandwich or tossed with whole-wheat pasta.Beans with Swiss chard and tomatoes

Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes.

Serves: 2       

 1 small bunch red Swiss chard, leaves only.

1- 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained or home cooked

1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes 

¼ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped basil

¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Add Swiss chard and sauté over medium heat, 2-3 minutes.  Salt to taste. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, basil and pepper flakes; simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tip: Kale, escarole or spinach make great substitutions for the chard.  Red and green Swiss chard can be used interchangeably.

Sauteed Spinach With Raisins and Pine Nuts

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Dark green leafy vegetables are a treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, and fiber they are fabulous on the dinner table as well!

While many leafy greens are fabulous tossed in salads, sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs brings out a rich flavor. Check this version of sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts. Most leafy greens can be cooked this way. 

 

Sautéed spinach with raisins and nuts 

Serves 4         prep time: 5 minutes            cooking time: 4-5 minutes

 Raisins and nuts are frequently used in Southern Italian cooking. My husband and I had this at an Italian restaurant and I have been making it at home ever since. We prefer our version as it contains much less oil and salt. 

1- 16 oz package baby spinach, washed 

2-tablespoons olive oil

2 clove garlic

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium size skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add spinach (Pan may seem too small as raw spinach has a high volume but it cooks down a lot) and raisins. Cook for about 2 minutes until just wilted, stir frequently.  Add nuts and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.

Eat To Lower Cholesterol

Pineapple and Strawberries with Spiced Honey

Pineapple and Strawberries with Spiced Honey

Food choices that lower blood cholesterol levels

High blood cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United Sates. Despite its harmful effect, cholesterol is a vital component in our bodies. It is used to make hormones, digest fats and make Vitamin D. In fact, the body makes it’s own cholesterol.  The driving forces of blood cholesterol production in the body are your genetics and saturated fats. Any food that comes from animals contains saturated fat. Given that we cannot change our genetics, controlling the amount of saturated fat we eat is key to managing cholesterol levels.

 Experts recommend limiting saturated fats consumed be based on our calorie pattern. For example a pattern of 1800 - 2000 calories per day would have a limit of 20 – 22 grams of saturated fats. When goal is to lower the LDL known as the “bad cholesterol” the limit is even lower. Modifying ingredients, recipes and eating pattern is our best bet to keep saturated fats and bad cholesterol in line.  

Almost 20 % of saturated fats in the American diet comes from snacks and sweets. Ingredients and foods that come from animals or animal products are natural sources of saturated fats. Foods such as meat and meat products, milk and milk products such as cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, ice cream are rich sources of saturated fat and cholesterol. One ounce of regular cheese contains 6 - 9 grams of saturated fat, half a cup of ice cream contains about 6 grams and one tablespoon of butter contains about 7 grams. And they add up quickly.   Limiting animal products and replacing it with plant foods and liquid oils is the most effective defense at our disposal. Opting for more plant based dishes from appetizers to dessert is a healthy way to cut back on saturated fat. Here is a delicious fruit based dessert that makes a perfect ending to any meal.

 

Recipe

Pineapple and strawberries with spiced honey

1 pineapple, peeled and cubed

1 lb. strawberries, washed and cut in half

2 tablespoons of honey

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

4 peppercorns

½ cup blueberries

Combine pineapple cubes and strawberries in a shallow bowl.   

Bring 6 oz. of water to boil with the honey, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black peppercorn.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool and filter through a sieve. If desired refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the cooled syrup to the mixed fruit, if desired add blueberries for color.

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The Wonder of Eggs!

Simple Poached Eggs make an impressive and satisfying dish! What would brunch be without Eggs Benedict or omelets!

Simple Poached Eggs make an impressive and satisfying dish! What would brunch be without Eggs Benedict or omelets!

The egg is one of the most nutritious foods we have. It’s unmatched as a high quality protein source; it provides linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that’s essential in the human diet, as well as several minerals, most vitamins, and two plant pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin that are especially valuable antioxidants.   The protein rich egg white and the fat concentrated yolk make for the egg’s rich package. Eggs have been long maligned for their high cholesterol content. More recent studies have shown that saturated fats and trans fats are the major contributors to high blood cholesterol and to a lesser degree cholesterol found in food or dietary cholesterol such as in eggs and shellfish. Experts recommend that healthy individuals consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease, limit the daily cholesterol intake to no more than 200 mg a day. On average a large egg contains about 186 mgs of cholesterol, found in the yolk.   Having up to four eggs per week would certainly not be a deal breaker for most eating patterns.

Eggs pack a nutritional punch and a gastronomic wonder. Even a simply poached egg makes an inspiring main dish. I especially relish poached eggs.  They are uncomplicated to prepare, an economical source of excellent protein quality and satisfying! 

 

Steps To Simple Poaching

Poaching an egg can be as complicated as you want it to be. Here are my simple steps for preparing poached eggs at home.

 

Place 3-4 inches of water in a 1-quart size sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Bring to a simmer (it appears as it’s just about to boil).

Crack an egg into a small bowl and gently slide the egg into the water.  Poach for about 4 minutes, longer or shorter time depending on how “runny” the yolk is desired.  Remove the egg using a slotted spoon, drain for a few moments, serve immediately. Depending on the size of the saucepan, it is possible to cook 2-4 eggs at the same time. Poached eggs can also be eaten cold.

To store for later use, place the poached eggs in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate. To reheat, merely place the cold egg in simmering hot water for a few minutes.

Snacking done right!

Hummus bars and pinwheel roll ups.   Snack Idea: For any time of the day! Try a Hummus or peanut butter sandwich!  Make a sandwich and cut into 4 - 1-inch wide bars or slice a piece of bread into 2 thin slices. Spread hummus or peanut butter on each half and roll each half and cut each into pinwheels like shape. Store covered in refrigerator.   

Hummus bars and pinwheel roll ups. 

Snack Idea: For any time of the day! Try a Hummus or peanut butter sandwich!

Make a sandwich and cut into 4 - 1-inch wide bars or slice a piece of bread into 2 thin slices. Spread hummus or peanut butter on each half and roll each half and cut each into pinwheels like shape. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

 

 

Snacking done right!

A Snack is a small meal eaten between regular meals. As we go about our daily charged up schedules, regular meals take a back seat and we replace them with mindless noshing through out the day or snacking done wrong. This can pose a dietary disaster and dire consequences of unhealthy food choices. Done right, snacking can furnish essential nutrients missed at meals.  

Eating regularly scheduled meals is fundamental to healthy eating. This helps avoid energy slumps and food cravings for empty calories.  Snacking can be a satisfying way to maintain a steady flow of energy and boost essential nutrients we need to be our best at work or play.

Keep hunger in check by not going for more than four to six hours without food. Planned snacks fit right in here. For a healthy snack start with nutritious food choices; build a healthy snack by starting with a  lean protein choice including low fat dairy; add a fruit and/or a whole grain. Here are some ideas:

·      Cereal with fruit and low-fat milk

·      Non-fat yogurt and fruit

·      Vegetables and peanut butter

·      Whole wheat crackers with string cheese & fruit

·      Hummus roll ups (my recipe)*

Prepare snacks ahead and have therm handy when hunger calls! Purposeful and timely nutrient rich snacks can be vital to a healthy eating pattern.    Do snacks right to help fuel a  healthy and energetic lifestyle.

 

RECIPE

Hummus

Makes 2 cups

 

2 cups chickpeas or 19 oz. can rinse and drain

3 tablespoons tahini or peanut butter

1tablespoon sesame oil

1/3-cup water

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2-teaspoon cumin

1/2-teaspoon coriander

1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2-teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender, thin with a little more oil or water if necessary. Make about 1 hour ahead to let flavors meld. Garnish with parsley. Serve at room temperature with veggies and pita chips or make sandwich and cut into snack size. 

Monday Morning Shortcuts!

As I pour myself a strong cup of black coffee to get the day going I gather my thoughts around the upcoming week.  It appears to be a busy one including a three business trip and working late tonight. Given that I want everyone in the house to eat vegetables I resorted to cooking frozen vegetables in the slow cooker. What a delightful surprise! Not only was hands-on practically none (place 1/4 cup of water in slow cooker insert, add frozen vegetables, cover and set on high setting and walk away) a few hours later they are perfectly steamed and ready to use as needed.   HOW EASY IS THAT?!!

USE A SLOW COOKER FOR PERFECTLY STEAMED FROZEN VEGETABLES!

USE A SLOW COOKER FOR PERFECTLY STEAMED FROZEN VEGETABLES!

Thinking Tropical

Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta and Key lime marmalade glazed sponge cake and mango sorbet was on the Delicious Simplicity menu cooking show this month. The flavor was all tropical - lime, mango and rum.

Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta and Key lime marmalade glazed sponge cake and mango sorbet was on the Delicious Simplicity menu cooking show this month. The flavor was all tropical - lime, mango and rum.

Fennel-Basil Shrimp sauté over bow-ties pasta

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 shallot, sliced

½ cup fennel, diced

1-pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

¼ cup chicken stock

1 pint grape tomatoes

¼ - pound baby spinach, washed

6 basil leaves

1/2 pound bow ties pasta: cooked according to package directions

In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add shallot and fennel and tomatoes. Cook three minutes. Add shrimp and chicken stock. Cook until shrimp is done. Add spinach cook for one minute. Add Basil and cook one more minute. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Serve.