All Posts By Dana Angelo White

In Season: Ramps

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, May 7, 2013

ramps

A true sign of spring, this specialty produce can only be found for a limited time.

What, Where & When
A member of the Allium family along with onion and garlic, this wild variety of onion is sometimes referred to as a “wild leek.” Looking much like a scallion, a tiny bulb elongates to a skinny stalk with green feathery leaves (all parts are edible).

 

Lovers of this spring goodie are fans of its fresh onion and garlic flavor. Cooking will mellow out the pungent flavor of a raw ramp.

A serious farmers’ market treasure, ramps are harvested through the spring and early summer– look for them at markets from April through May or early June.

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Exercise 101: Running

by in Fitness, May 4, 2013

running
It might not be the newest exercise phenomenon, but this no-frills type of workout will certainly pay off if you’re willing to work at it. Here are tips to help you along.

Defining Running
The concept is pretty simple: one foot in front of the other. For the best workout, take the time to plan out the “how” and the “where.”

Running at a moderate pace will burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 calories per hour. Incorporating hills and intervals (short periods of increased speed) will also help maximize the muscles groups you engage and the amount of calories burned during each session.

When running, be mindful of your form and posture. Keep eyes focused out in front of you, not straight down at your feet. Keep your arms slightly bent and hands relaxed to allow for optimal blood flow. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!

Map out a route in your neighborhood, hit up a local track or running trail, or hop on the nearest treadmill. Be certain about where you’re going so you don’t have to deal with the unexpected (getting lost doesn’t make for a good workout).

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Is It Healthy: Cooking Spray

by in Is It Healthy?, May 1, 2013

cooking spray
Can the key to healthy cooking be found in an aerosol can? There are pluses and minuses to using cooking spray.

Yes?
Using cooking spray as a replacement for oil and butter can help cut back the calories. Since butter and oil have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon (respectively), switching to a spray can mean fewer calories (and grams of fat) in your cooking.

Many brands use actual oils (such as olive and canola) as the primary ingredient, others rely on other types of oil and artificial flavorings– check ingredient lists on your brand of choice.

When used in a nonstick pan, a light coating of spray can allow for grilled cheese, French toast and eggs that aren’t glued to the pan. Spray is also good option to help give oven-baked breadings a crispier crust. A neutral flavored spray (like canola oil) can also be used to grease baking dishes and cupcake pans.

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22 Healthy Mexican Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, April 30, 2013

steak tacos
Mix up a batch of lightened-up margaritas, then cook up a bunch of these fiesta-inspired favorites.

Soup, Starters and Sides
Fresh ingredients and lots of spice make these appetizers and side dishes healthy crowd-pleasers.

5-Ingredient Quesadillas
Chile-Chicken Posole
Mexican Chicken Soup
Mexican Zucchini Oven Fries
Guacamole
Five Layer Mexican Dip
Mexican Potato Skin Bites
Spicy Cheesy Rice

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Taste Test: Strawberry Greek Yogurt

by in Taste Test, April 28, 2013

Greek yogurt
Back in 2010, we did our Nonfat Greek Yogurt Taste Test and there were only a few brands to choose from. Today, the number of companies making Greek yogurt has exploded, and so have the flavor options. So how do the flavored varieties stack up? Find out.

The Criteria
I used our typical 5-point scale (5 being the highest) to rate these yogurts. For nutrition, I paid close attention to calories, protein and sugar content. Even plain Greek yogurt contains some natural sugars from milk (aka lactose) but when looking at flavored varieties, there’s often a large variation of ingredients. Sugars on the label can come from milk, fruit and/or added sugars.

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Nuts About Macadamia Nuts

by in Healthy Recipes, April 26, 2013

macadamia nuts
A personal favorite of mine, these deliciously chunky nuts are good for more than just munching.

Macadamia Basics
Buttery flavor, big crunch, and subtle sweetness sums up these medium-sized round nuts. Although native to Australia, Hawaii has since taken over as the largest exporter in the world. With a famously hard outer shell, you’ll most often find these nuts cracked and ready to eat.

Nutrition Facts
One ounce of macadamia nuts (about 10 to 12 kernels) contains 200 calories, 21 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. They also offer a decent amount of thiamin, iron and copper. Macadamia nuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. A small study conducted by a popular macadamia manufacturer reported that subjects who ate 1.5 ounces of the nuts per day showed improvements in cholesterol (lower total cholesterol and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol ) over a 5-week period.

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How to Prevent Vitamin Loss When Cooking Vegetables

by in Healthy Tips, April 8, 2013

asparagus
There’s no doubt vegetables have lots of good nutrition to offer, but how you purchase, store, and prepare them can dramatically affect their value.  Here’s what you need to know when cooking up your favorite veggies.

Farm to Table
As soon as vegetables are picked, their nutrient clock beings to tick away. The more time it spends off the plant, the more vitamins will be lost.

For this reason, seeking out local produce when possible is never a bad idea — the less time it takes for the veggies to get to your plate, the more nutrients they’ll retain. Support local agriculture in your community or get your hands dirty by planting some of your own herbs and vegetables – you can’t get more local than that.

Home Storage
Once you get those fresh vegetables home, minimize additional nutrient loss by eating them right away or storing in the refrigerator or freezer. Cold temperatures will limit the degradation of vitamins so use the vegetable drawer in your fridge (where humidity is higher) and store in an air-tight bag or container. Avoid trimming and chopping prior to storage too, this will limit surface area and help lock more of the vitamins inside.

Get tips for the best way to freeze vegetables

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Metabolism: Facts vs. Myths

by in Healthy Tips, April 5, 2013

metabolism
Lifestyle and its impact on metabolism is always a hot topic. Find out what really affects how your body runs.

Myth: Eating at night causes weight gain
There’s no magical evening hour where foods just turn to fat. Once your calorie intake exceeds expenditure you can put on the pounds — no matter what time of day. On the other hand, if you need more calories after dinner, have a light and sensible snack.

Myth: Eat spicy foods to burn calories
There’s an element of some spicy foods (like chili peppers) that may help suppress appetite and create a short-lived increase in body heat. BUT don’t rely on these tactics to shed pounds – they could do more harm than good, especially if you’re prone to heartburn.

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5 Ingredients: Chia Pudding

by in 5-Ingredient Recipes, April 4, 2013

chia pudding
Love chia seeds? This easy-to-make, creamy pudding is bursting with fiber, omega-3 fat and tropical flavors.

What is Chia Pudding?
One of the most magical characteristics of tiny chia seeds is how they can act as an thickening agent. When introduced to liquid such as milk, soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk, the seeds expand and soften, creating a pudding-like concoction. Create a mixture of your favorite flavors and after a few hours in the fridge, indulge in the velvety goodness.

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Spice of the Month: Curry Powder

by in Healthy Recipes, April 3, 2013

curry powder

Is this spice blend sitting around in your cabinet? You don’t know what you’re missing. Hurry! Break out the curry!

Curry Basics

Robust, potent and delightfully flavorful, curry powder is a staple ingredient in both Indian and other South Asian cuisines. Made from a blend of various ground spices and chili peppers, you’ll find it used in all different kinds of recipes, some sweet, others spicy. Common components of curry blends include turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, mustard, ginger, cardamom, cloves, coriander, pepper, tamarind and saffron.

Nutrition Info

One tablespoon of curry powder has 20 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. It’s also chock full of vitamins and minerals including E, K, B6 and iron. Many of the components of curry powder like cinnamon and turmeric are also potent antioxidants.

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