Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Blog Site

I decided to go with a new engine, so visit my new blog at

Thanks for visiting!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Desserts are necessary for sanity

As much as I love healthy food, I love sweets. Some people crave salty food, I crave chocolate and cookies and cake and SUGAR. While I usually subside those cravings with fruit, gum, or a mint, sometimes, it's good to indulge. Everything in moderation.

I stumbled across this recipe when drifting from blog to blog to blog. When I saw it I thought, no way, that can't be right. I would NEVER put that ingredient in a sweet food. It defies convention!! It's like putting apples with pasta or sugar in salad.

What is it already?? Are you ready? 'Cause this recipe is goooood and I don't want you to be thrown off by the secret ingredient. Just trust me.

Black Beans. Yes, black beans in brownies!!

There is nothing more to say about this recipe as it is a splurge in your repertoire of otherwise really healthy foods (just nod your head). Just look past the cup (cup!) of butter and look at all those antioxidants in the chocolate and beans. And promise yourself that you'll only eat that one piece. Okay, maybe one more. It has fiber! - you say.

Enjoy it while it lasts, because I'm sure this sweet won't last long in your house.

(While I would love to post pictures, they don't do justice to the ones already on the site that I found the recipe. Plus, I'm just lazy tonight. ; ) So check out the recipe and pics on this site here! And promise me you'll come back. Please?)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beef, it's what's for dinner!

With all of the bad press about red meat lately, why should we still eat it? Doesn't it increase your risk of heart disease? Doesn't it clog your arteries? The truth is, that in the correct amounts, beef can be beneficial! Just like potatoes, it's not the beef itself that is harmful, but how we cook it.

The key with beef is not only the serving size - which should be four ounces -but the percentage of fat. The best way to go is 90% or higher, but I try to stick with 93%. Flavor can be added in the dish, so don't worry about that sacrifice!

Beef is 'B'eneficial! It is loaded with multiple B Vitamins - B12, B6, B3 and B2. B12 and B6 work together to turn a dangerous chemical in your body, homocysteine, into benign molecules. Recent studies have shown that high levels of homocysteine in the blood increases one's risk of heart attack and osteoporosis. These B Vitamins can only be found in beef, as well. Vegetarians are not able to get these vitamins in their diets without a supplement, due to the lack of them in non-animal sources. Red meat is also an excellent source of tryptophan (something I will go over as we get closer to Thanksgiving!) and protein; and a good source of zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and iron.

I loved this recipe. I enjoy getting lettuce cups in restaurants, but had yet to try to make them myself. The spice and flavor of all of the ingredients was wonderful! And the beautiful thing about the tofu - it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with!

Lettuce Cups with Tofu and Beef

(by Ellie Krieger on Healthy Appetite)

1 tablespoons bottled chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry or Chinese cooking wine
8 ounces extra-firm tofu
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
4 scallions, greens trimmed and reserved, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup each greens and whites - 3/4-ounce each)
1/2 pound lean ground beef (90 percent or leaner)
1/2 cup finely diced water chestnuts
1 large head Bibb lettuce, outer leaves discarded, leaves separated
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

In a bowl, whisk together chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar and sherry.

Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch thick slabs and lay the slices on top of paper towels. Use more paper towels to firmly pat the tofu in order to remove as much water as possible. This should take about 2 minutes and use about 3 paper towels. Finely mince dried tofu and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or extra-large skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and scallion whites and cook until scallion whites are translucent and ginger is fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add ground beef and tofu and cook, stirring, until beef is opaque and just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add reserved sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir to incorporate.

Fill each lettuce leaf with the filling. Serve garnished with scallion greens, red peppers and peanuts.

Per Serving:
(serving size: 2/3 cup filling and 2 large or 4 small lettuce leaves)
Calories 260
Total Fat 13 g( Sat Fat 1.5 g, Mono Fat 5 g, Poly Fat 3.5 g)
Protein 16 g
Carb 19 g
Fiber 5 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 630 mg

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pizza! Pizza!

No, it's not Little Caesar's. It's Deep-dish Eggplant Pizza.
What? - you say? Eggplant and pizza? I found this recipe in my Cooking Light Cookbook and was intrigued. Not only does it ask you to make the dough, with yeast, but it also had eggplant on it. Eggplant is in season currently and while I'm not in love with the vegetable, I hardly use it, so I wanted to add more of it into my diet. Variety is your body's friend!

So how beneficial is eggplant? This magnificently beautiful vegetable is full of minerals and vitamins, but most importantly it has phytonutrients. Many phytonutrients have antioxidant activity and eggplant contains one main one - nasunin. Nasusin has been shown to protect our cells from damage, more specifically our brain cells. It has more detail to it than that, but I don't want to destroy your brain cells by describing it. ; ) Eggplant has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol. So tell me, why aren't you eating eggplant?

Try it and try this pizza - it was good!! And don't let making pizza dough scary - it was easy.

Sicilian Deep-Dish Eggplant Pizza

1 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. dry yeast (~2 ½ teaspoons)
1 c. warm water (~105˚ to 115˚)
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour

½ c. yellow or white cornmeal

1/4 Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Cooking spray

1 Tbsp. cornmeal
4 c. diced peeled eggplant
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. dried italian seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. canned quartered artichoke -hearts; drained
1 c. cubed tomato; 1/2 inch cubes; seeded
1 c. minced red onion
2 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
--or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tsp. fennel seeds; crushed
4 garlic cloves; minced
2 c. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a
knife. Place flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor. Pulse twice. While the food processor is on, slowly add the yeast mixture and oil. Continue to process until the mixture forms a ball. Continue to process for 1 minute.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and
elastic (about 5 minutes).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat
top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85˚), free from drafts, 45 minutes or
until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down; divide dough in half. Place
dough in 2 (9-inch) cake pans coated with cooking spray and each sprinkled
with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal; press dough up sides of pan. Cover dough,
and let rise 20 minutes or until puffy.

4. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

5. Combine eggplant, 2 tablespoons oil, Italian seasoning, and 3/4 teaspoon
salt in a bowl. Place eggplant mixture on a jellyroll pan, spreading
evenly. Bake at 375˚ for 25 minutes or until tender. Increase oven temperature to

6. Combine artichokes and next 6 ingredients (artichokes through garlic) in
a bowl. Divide eggplant mixture and artichoke mixture evenly between the
pizza crusts, and top each with 1 cup cheese. Bake at 400˚F for 30 minutes
or until the crusts are lightly browned. Cut each pizza into 4 slices.

Yield: 2 pizzas, 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vitamin, I "C" You!

Hello! Long time, no type. My first semester of summer classes in nutrition are complete and I have learned a lot! Fall semester has already started, but with the Democratic National Convention in town, I have had a bit of a breather. And therefore, time to blog again! Yay! I have some great recipes to share.

First of which is this recipe for Greek Stuffed Peppers out my favorite cookbook. Such a wonderful meal-in-one that you can add to a delicious side of fruit salad or a glass of wine. Plus, I like to use ground buffalo to up the flavor and reduce the fat.

So what is so great about this recipe? The Vitamin C! Red peppers are chock full of the immune boosting vitamin. One red pepper gives you 100% of your daily value. It is also an anti-oxidant, improves iron absorption, and lowers your cancer risk. There is no reason not to snap one of these beautiful orbs into your mouth. Skip the orange juice when you are skip - grab a red bell pepper!

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers
(adapted from Ellie Krieger's "The Food You Crave")
1 pound lean ground beef (I use ground buffalo)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup bulghur
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, cores and ribs removed (Ellie's recipe only calls for 3, but I find that 4 works better)
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium stewed tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, bulghur, egg, oregano, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a 9 by 13-inch and a square baking dish and fill each pepper half with the meat mixture. Pour the tomatoes over the peppers and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the meat mixture is completely cooked and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

8 Servings (1 pepper)

Nutritional Information
FAT 6g (Sat. 2.5g)
SODIUM 400 mg

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have gotten a little behind.

Since the end of spring semester and the start of my nutrition courses, I have gotten behind in posting. Bad blogger!
And I have a TON of recipes to share when I do post again. So many good things for you to cook!

I shall return...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tofu, don't I know you?

Aaaah, hummus. The dip with the grainy mouthfeel and somewhat odd taste that is great with carrots, celery, pita chips, and many more vegetables. Usually made with chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and tahini, hummus is a traditional dish in the Middle East. I have another version of hummus that I usually make that is much spicier and contains the traditional ingredients, but found this recipe in my favorite cookbook The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger and just had to try it.

I wanted to make this because I had leftover tofu from the Peanut Sesame Noodles that I made the other night and I love edamame. But not as much as Dooce does, apparently. Tofu is not a regular staple in my household, as most recipes that I make must contain some sort of meat - or so demands my carnivorous hubby. However, I have also found that he will most likely eat what I make, even if he doesn't like it a lot. And even if he has to add more salt. Which is quite often.

I digress. Uuuuhhhh ... tofu! I was talking about tofu. Tofu is loaded with tryptophan, which does not make you sleepy by itself and is an essential amino acid. Tofu is also very high in protein and iron, both of which are very good for your blood. Tofu usually comes in soft or firm and can be fried, sauteed, baked or eaten raw. The beauty of tofu is that it usually takes on the flavor of the sauce it is served in or the food it is served with. I dare you to try this inexpensive vegetarian staple!

Edamame Hummus (from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger)
2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 cup silken tofu, briefly drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus more, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, plus more, for garnish

Set 1 tablespoon of edamame aside for a garnish. Place the rest of the edamame, tofu, salt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, plus more lemon juice, if desired. Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved edamame, and some cumin.

12 Servings (1/4 cup each)

Nutritional Information
FAT 6g (Sat. 0.7g, Poly 0.8g, Mono 3.5g)
SODIUM 110 mg