Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Seven Steps to Magnetich New Year's Resolutions

Last September I offered a series of classes for people with diabetes on Eating Mindfully.  I found Michelle May's book very insightful and signed up to receive her blog posts.  After a busy Holiday season, I am at work today and cleaning up a few things and preparing some posts before the craziness of the new year hits.  While cleaning out e-mails I found this tip sheet on preparing for a New Year.  Those of you who participated in the Fall series will especially enjoy this.

As you are looking at goals for 2017, you may want to add my class on Eating Mindfully on your list.  I will be offering it each Monday in March.

Easy Spinach and Artichoke Dip for New Years

This tasty dip is perfect for holiday gatherings or that next football party.  Superbowl is just a month away.  Serve with small slices of bread or crackers.  It even has a healthy twist with two nutrient packed vegetables.  If you can't find Neufchatel cheese, substitute low-fat cream cheese.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dinner Roll Workshop for Kids

We had so much fun making dinner rolls for adults that we are offering a workshop for kids.  They will make the dough and then learn to shape some rolls.

Spice Up Your Meals!

Adding spices to your meal may help to lessen the negative effects of overeating.   This is perfect news for the holiday season, full of parties and family gatherings.  In a small 2011 study in The Journal of Nutrition, participants who ate a meal that included about 2 tablespoons of spices (a blend of rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika) had lower triglyceride and insulin levels and higher antioxidant levels after eating a high-fat, high-calorie meal compared to when they ate a nearly identical meal that lacked spices. Researchers think the spice blend may help slow fat absorption—and the antioxidants help mop up harmful free radicals produced when you overeat.  Mix and match recipes to get a variety of spices in your meals.  In addition to adding lots of great flavor, it may help you stay healthier too.

Often I worry about choosing the wrong spice or herb.  This list of complementary spices can serve as a handy resource for making a shopping list for your spice cabinet or having on hand to use in a pinch. You can also experiment with various combinations of the complimentary spices that you enjoy most to enhance the flavor of the meat for which it is recommended.

Beef: Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Cumin, Curry Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Garlic, Green Pepper, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.

Fish: Bay Leaf, Cayenne, Curry Powder, Celery Seed, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Zest, Marjoram, Mint, Dry Mustard Powder, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Red Pepper, Saffron, Sage, Sesame Seed, Tarragon, Thyme, and Turmeric.

Lamb: Basil, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry Powder, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Sesame Seed, and Thyme.

Poultry: Basil, Bay Leaf, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Curry Powder, Garlic, Mace, Marjoram, Mint, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Saffron, Savory, Tarragon, and Thyme.

Pork: Allspice, Caraway, Celery Seed, Cloves, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Juniper Berries, Dry Mustard Powder, Paprika, Sage, and Savory.

Veal: Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Curry Powder, Dill, Ginger, Lemon, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Saffron, Sage, and Tarragon.

Eggs: Basil, Chives, Curry Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Green or Red Pepper, Onion, Paprika, Parsley, and Tarragon.

Cheese: Chives, Nutmeg, Oregano, Red Pepper, Sage, Tarragon, and Thyme.

Don't forget the side dishes.  You may not want to season your main dish with all of the spices in the recommended blend.  But you can season the different dishes to get the total combination.

 Here is an idea for a stew.  Pair it up with some biscuits or bread made with herbs.  Finish you meal with a dessert with cinnamon and cloves.

Rosemary Sweet Potato Stew

6 chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat (May remove bones too)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 large shallots, peeled and halved (or substitute a small onion)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine (may substitute broth or water)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

Place chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, wine, rosemary, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the potatoes are tender, about 5 hours. Before serving, remove bones from the chicken and coarsely shred.  Stir in vinegar.  Makes 6 servings.

Make Ahead Tip: Place in shallow bowls and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.  For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New Food Label To Show Added Sugars

In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that by July 2018, the Nutrition Facts label will display added sugars information in grams per serving and percent Daily Value. The decision to declare added sugars on the revised label is based, in part, on recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The DGA and FDA recognize that added sugars can be a part of a healthy eating pattern. The intent of requiring added sugars on the revised label is to assist consumers in maintaining healthful dietary practices by increasing awareness of the amount of added sugars in foods and beverages.
When the revised labels hit shelves on or before July 26, 2018, added sugars information will appear as “Includes Xg Added Sugars,” which will be indented directly below “Total Sugars.” The indention indicates that added sugars are included in the amount of “Total Sugars” per serving, not in addition to “Total Sugars.” Manufacturers may start providing this information before the final deadline.
Here are some tips on how to navigate sugars information on the revised Nutrition Facts label:
  • Use the “Total Sugars” line to determine the full amount of sugars in a labeled serving. This amount represents naturally-occurring and added sugars.
  • Use the “Includes Xg Added Sugars” line to determine the amount of sugars that have been added.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

4 Reasons Eating Garlic is Good for Cancer Prevention

If you love the pungent flavor and scent of garlic, you are on trend. Cultures have long used garlic both for cooking and medicine. Here in the US, garlic popularity has soared over the years. That’s potentially good news for health, and lower cancer risk.

Whether you already enjoy garlic or are wary of its intense scent, here are four reasons to regularly spice up your meals with this root veggie.

1. Garlic lowers the risk of colorectal cancer
After a review of the global research, AICR’s reports found that eating garlic frequently lowers the risk of colorectal cancers. There are many ways in which garlic and its compounds may do this: Lab studies show that garlic compounds help with DNA repair, slow the growth of cancer cells and decrease inflammation.

2. You’ll be packing in numerous phytochemicals, many studied for their role in lowering risk of many cancers
It’s the sulfur compounds that give garlic its distinctive scent, along with many of its health benefits. But each clove of garlic is crammed with a variety of phytochemicals, many showing cancer-fighting properties in the lab.

-    Flavonoids: compounds well studied for their anti-cancer properties.
-    Inulin and saponins
When you crush or chop garlic, that releases the compound allicin. Allicin forms several oil soluble allyl sulfur compounds.
-    S-allyl cysteine: A water-soluble sulfur compound found in high doses in aged garlic extract.

While the evidence that garlic lowers colorectal risk is the strongest, this pungent veggie is also being studied for its role in reducing risk for other cancers as well.

3. You can add garlic to punch up your plant-based dishes - and eat more of them
Tired of the same veggie goulash? Bored with that whole-grain pasta? It's a rare dish that doesn't benefit from a few garlic cloves.

Classified as a vegetable, garlic is used mainly as a flavoring. This vegetable is a staple seasoning in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines that incorporate many other spices and herbs for flavor.

If you're new to using garlic in cooking, start with sliced or whole garlic cloves in soups or stews for a milder garlic flavor. For convenience try jarred, chopped garlic in oil. The more you chop or crush fresh garlic before adding to a dish, the more flavor will be released.

4. Garlic is part of a good family
Garlic belongs to the Allium family of vegetables, which includes onions, scallions, shallots, leeks and chives. Each has its own unique combination of phytochemicals, vitamins and other health-promoting compounds.

As always, there's no one food that reduces cancer risk. It's your pattern of eating that counts – choosing mostly plant foods that fill up two-thirds or more of your plate, with smaller amounts of meat.

Read more in Foods the Fight Cancer by AICR

Friday, November 25, 2016

November 28th is National French Toast Day

I can't think of a better day to celebrate!  Ever since I was a young child, I have loved french toast.  If we went out for breakfast, I would order it and would request it for special breakfasts at home.  I often made French toast for my kids as it is an excellent way to use dry bread.   French toast is very easy to make.  For a successful dish, use older bread because it will soak up the egg and milk mixture.  I remember watching a show on the cooking channel discussing the need for dry bread to make the ultimate french toast.  They dried it out in an oven.

There are many recipes, but the basic toast is a couple of beaten eggs with milk mixed in.  The bread is dip in and allowed to soak up some of the mixture.  Then fried in melted butter.  It can be served with powdered sugar, maple syrup, or whipped cream and fruit.  Make up your own combinations.  For added flavor, you can add fruit zest, coconut, vanilla or my favorite cinnamon in the milk and egg mixture.  Try topping with nuts to balance out the carbohydrates.

Here are some links to some good recipes

French Toast by Alton Brown

Baked French Toast by the Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Make Your Own Dinner Rolls

I was at the grocery store last night and noticed that they were out of dinner rolls.  If you did not pick up any, you can make some.  Here is the recipe we used last week in our roll making workshop.  All three batches came out great even though they were made by different people.  We shaped these rolls in a variety of shapes from cloverleafs to Alphabet letters.  You can also just do the traditional round rolls.  We will be having homemade rolls for our Thanksgiving Dinner also.  My son has requested his favorite with a honey glaze.

Beginner Dinner Rolls

2 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet Instant, RapidRise or Platinum Yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, 1% OR skim)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter OR margarine
Combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in a large mixer bowl and stir until blended. Combine milk, water and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm but not hot to the touch (120° to 130°F.  Butter won’t melt completely). Add to flour mixture.

Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough will form into a ball.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic and springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.

Cut dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls using your hands. Place in greased 8-inch round or square pan.  Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan by running a knife around the edges and invert onto wire rack; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.

To speed up the rising process, we poured hot water in a 13 X 9 X 2 pan and placed our baking sheet with the shaped rolls on top.  This cuts the rising time in half, so we could make the rolls in an hour.