How Do We Love Watermelon? Let Us Count the Ways

by in Healthy Recipes, July 28, 2016

There are few summer pastimes more satisfying than nibbling a cool slice of watermelon right down to the rind. And while we completely support enjoying the juicy, low-calorie pink fruit in its raw, unadulterated form, we can also get behind soups, salads and desserts that highlight its incredible range and versatility. From sweet shaved ice to spicy watermelon gazpacho, here are seven fresh uses for that ripe watermelon chilling in your fridge.

Gingery Watermelon Petit Fours
Looking for a lighter alternative to quench your after-dinner sweet tooth? Try dousing juicy watermelon squares in a ginger syrup, then letting the watermelon soak for a few hours before topping each square with a dollop of honey-laced cream cheese.

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Market Watch: Basil

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, July 27, 2016

Fresh herbs are flourishing at the local markets. Head out and grab some basil to make these exciting and unexpected recipes.

Basil Facts
Basil is rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, plus it contains phytochemicals — good-for-you plant-based compounds. Since you probably don’t eat cups of herbs at a time, using small amounts daily in a wide range of recipes allows for the nutrients to stack up.

Basil options are more diverse than you might think. Look for beautiful bouquets of common varieties like “sweet” or “Christmas” for tomato sauce and salads. Try cinnamon basil on fruit salad or spicy Thai basil with noodle and rice dishes. The deep-purple leaves of opal basil make a showstopping pesto or pizza topper.

What to Do with Basil
Basil can be stored like flowers in a small glass of water on the counter for a couple of days. You can also store leaves loosely wrapped in a plastic bag with some paper towels in the veggie drawer of the fridge.

Stack those aromatic leaves on sandwiches, toss them into salad greens, or mash them into hummus, pesto and guacamole. Basil can also be used for dessert, incorporated into frozen treats like sorbet and ice pops. Read more

Grilled Meat: Good or Bad?

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Food Safety, July 26, 2016

Summer is all about grilling, but many folks are concerned about firing up red meats such as beef and lamb. Here’s the low-down on grilling meat.

The Good
Grilling is a quick and easy way to whip up a weeknight dinner or entertain friends and family. There are many lean cuts of meat that are easy to grill, including lamb tenderloin, strip steak, flank and rib eye. Nutritionally, red meats like beef and lamb are packed with protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.

Marinating meat before grilling helps tenderize and add flavor. Studies have also shown that marinades with little or no sugar also help protect meat from charring and have been shown to reduce heterocyclic aromatic amine (HAA) formation — compounds that have been linked to cancer. Read more

Order This, Not That: Smashburger

by in Dining Out, July 25, 2016

Photo: SmashBurger/Instagram

This chain has been popping up throughout the country. The restaurant offers 100 percent all-natural certified Angus beef and vegetarian options, and gluten-free buns are available upon request. However, as with many quick-serve joints, there are not-so-healthy and better-for-you menu options to choose from. Find out what you should order and what you should skip the next time you stop in for a Smashburger.

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Peach Compote Overnight Oats

by in Healthy Recipes, July 24, 2016

Peach season is in full swing, and oh how I wish it were here to stay forever! The brutally hot months seem a bit more tolerable when biting into the juicy and luscious quintessential summer food. I am blessed to live just a couple of hours away from a town called Fredericksburg, Texas, which is known for its peach orchards, among many other things. Come summer, this quaint German town’s main attraction is peach picking, and there will definitely be lines at the orchards. The “Closed/Sold Out” signs are sure to make an appearance sooner rather than later, so getting an early start on the day is worth a little loss of sleep. Having spent many years in Georgia, I know a thing or two about peaches, but you won’t ever see me in the debate about which state has the best peaches. To each his own!

While peaches are perfect simply as is, when you realize some are ripening at a much faster rate than you can consume them, consider making this peach compote. Using overripe peaches also allows for fewer sweeteners to be added. In this case, all that was needed was a little maple syrup. Simply stir all the ingredients together in a saucepan, and in less than 10 minutes you’ve got yourself a scrumptious topping or sauce to spoon on top of overnight oats, pancakes, waffles, ice cream … you name it! Read more

Want to Be Happier? Eat More Fruits and Veggies

by in Food News, July 23, 2016

You already know they’re good for you in all kinds of ways, but the latest research on fruits and vegetables has revealed some very surprising results. Apparently, eating more produce can actually increase your level of happiness over time. The newly released study, conducted at the University of Warwick, followed 12,000 people who kept food diaries and had their psychological well-being measured. What it found is that people got incrementally happier with every daily serving of fruit and vegetables they ate (up to eight portions a day). Why the connection between increased produce consumption and increased happiness? Researchers don’t know for sure, but one possible theory is that the abundance of antioxidants the fruits and vegetables provides leads to higher levels of carotenoids in the blood — and having higher levels of carotenoids has been linked to optimism. Read more

Nutrition News: BMI Risk; Water and Weight; Allergy-Causing Additive?

by in Food News, July 22, 2016

Can water help you lose weight?
One way to lower your BMI may be to drink more water. A new study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, has found a link between hydration and weight. Examining data from approximately 9,500 U.S. adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers at the University of Michigan found that 33 percent of participants were not properly hydrated, and that those who were not tended to have a higher body mass index than those who were. Time notes that the best way to tell if you are adequately hydrated is to gauge the color of your urine: If it’s dark, you need to drink more water or eat more hydrating foods — like fresh fruits and vegetables. If it’s light, you should be A-OK. More research is needed to understand the link between hydration and weight. “But,” study author Dr. Tammy Chang told Time, “staying hydrated is good for you no matter what.” Read more

7 Summer Salads That Put a Fresh Spin on Corn

by in Healthy Recipes, July 21, 2016

Let’s talk about corn. And we don’t mean boxed muffin mixes or the oily hardened batter that separates basic hot dogs from “corn” dogs. We’re talking fresh-off-the-cob kernels of golden summer corn — or “maize,” as it’s known in its native Mexico. After decades of commercialized farming, we’ve come to think of this ubiquitous crop as the bane of our healthy-eating efforts, reduced to greasy convenience foods and high-fructose corn syrup — the insidious sweetening agent hidden in many shelf-stable products. It’s safe to say the crop’s image is in a state of crisis. We’ve forgotten that, in its purest incarnation, this ancient grain was destined for greatness. Take these seven corn salads, for example, each one paired with more peak-season produce, such as juicy tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and fresh basil. This is exactly the kind of corn renaissance we’ve been waiting for.

Fresh Corn Salad
It doesn’t get any fresher than Ina Garten’s crunchy corn salad. Submerging the quick-boiled cobs in an ice bath may seem like a tedious extra step, but we swear by it. Not only does it stop the cooking right away, but it also preserves the beautiful yellow color for your salad.

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5-Ingredient Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peaches

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, Healthy Recipes, July 20, 2016

If you’re craving a juicy piece of meat from the grill but still desire a meal with a light finish, give pork tenderloin a try. Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin is as lean as skinless chicken breast, making it a healthy choice in the meat aisle.

Peaches are in peak season all summer, timed perfectly for grilling. Peaches take on a concentrated, natural sweetness when grilled, as the cooking thickens their juices. To select peaches for grilling, opt for those that yield to gentle pressure when squeezed gently in the palm of the hand, while being free of wrinkled skins. A sweet peachy scent is another giveaway. Avoid using firm peaches, as the pits will be difficult to remove and the flesh will taste tart. Grilled peaches also pair well with chicken or can be enjoyed as a side dish for any barbecue. If you’re looking to spice things up, sprinkle on cinnamon. And for added entertainment, when someone asks you what’s for dinner, in a Southern accent drawl, “Pork ‘n’ peaches.” That’s what I do. Read more

3 Creative Ideas for Grilled Fruit

by in Healthy Recipes, July 19, 2016

Meat, fish, chicken and vegetables aren’t the only foods you can toss on the grill. Fruits like pineapple, strawberries and even watermelon are becoming more popular to fire up too. Here are three fun combinations you can try the next time you’re barbecuing.

Berries
Unless you have a grill basket, berries are easiest to grill when threaded on skewers. Here are the basic steps to follow for killer berry kebabs:

1) Choose your berry: Strawberries are largest and easiest to work with, but you can skewer blueberries and blackberries too.

2) Brush with a sweet flavor: Combine maple or agave syrup with lemon zest and a touch of a neutral oil (like canola or safflower), and brush on the threaded berries.

3) Select an herb: Complement the flavor of berries with mint, basil or lavender. Chop the herb and sprinkle it over your skewers before serving.

4) Grill over a low flame: Berries burn easily, so be sure to grill them over low heat.
Recipe to try: Grilled Strawberry Kebabs with Lemon-Mint Sauce (pictured above) Read more

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