All Posts By Dana Angelo White

Have You Tried: Saffron?

by in Have You Tried, February 18, 2012
saffron
Have you tried saffron? A little pinch goes a long way.

It’s hard to believe that a tiny part of a flower can also be a highly prized spice. Have you ever tasted the most expensive spice in the world?

What Is Saffron?
The delicate threads of saffron are actually the stigma of the purple crocus. Each flower gives only three strands that must be hand-picked. An acre of crocus flowers will yield 5 to 7 pounds of saffron, which is why the price tag for one ounce (approximately 13,000 threads) can easily approach $500.00! You may be able to find ground powdered saffron for less money but it’s not nearly as flavorful and loses its “umph” quickly.

Thankfully a little goes a long way. Trying to figure on how much to buy? The spice gurus at Penzey’s give these helpful conversions: 1 gram = 2 teaspoons whole, 1 teaspoon crumbled or ½ teaspoon powdered.

Once you bring some home, store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

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Frozen Diet Meals: Good or Bad?

by in Grocery Shopping, February 16, 2012
frozen diet meals
Are frozen diet meals as healthy as they sound?

While the allure of healthy prepared meals fresh out of a box may be tempting, are these frozen diet foods actually good for you?

Pros
Frozen diet meals like Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers and Healthy Choice offer a wide range of options – you can find everything from breakfast sandwiches to pizza to Chinese noodle dishes. Those in favor of these packaged meals are all about the ease of use.

Top 5 Pros
•    Portion controlled
•    Ready in minutes
•    A wide variety to choose from
•    Easy to transport and store at work
•    No cooking skills required

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Nuts About Pistachios

by in Healthy Recipes, February 8, 2012
pistachios
Pistachios are wonderful on their own, but they make a great appetizer when drizzled with honey and served with apples and cheese.

No other nut boasts an emerald hue like the pistachio does. Find out what you’re getting when you crack open a pistachio.

Pistachio Basics
Commonly grown in Turkey and Iran, 98 perecent of the American crop of pistachios is grown in California. You can spot these distinctive nuts by their tan outer shell and the small green nut peaking out (the shell splits open when the nuts are ripe). Pistachios are available shelled or unshelled, salted or unsalted. Some research suggests that shelled nuts are a better choice for portion control– having to pop open the shell slows you down when munching.

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Make Your Own Hostess Cupcakes

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, February 7, 2012
hostess cupcakes
Skip the packaged cupcakes in the supermarket and make your own instead.

We had so much fun making homemade Girl Scout Cookies, we just had to try and recreate another childhood classic.

Why Make your own?
Using real ingredients like butter, sugar and chocolate in this recipe means our version won’t be low in calories. BUT, what you will be getting is a super fun and delicious cupcake made without preservatives, fillers, thickeners and hydrogenated oils found in the store-bought version.

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Spice of Month: Peppercorns

by in Healthy Recipes, February 7, 2012
peppercorn
Our February spice of the month: Peppercorns.

This under-appreciated spice is anything but ordinary. Grab your pepper mills – we’re serving up fresh facts and 10 recipes that make pepper the star.

Peppercorn Basics
A prized commodity dating back to ancient Egypt, pepper is more than just a black powder to mindlessly sprinkle. Grown from the Piper nigrum (a.k.a. pepper plant), peppercorns are available in a rainbow of colors.

The most common variety, black peppercorns, are slightly immature berries that have been dried. Malabar and Indian Tellicherry are two popular varieties, bursting with aromatic warmth.

White peppercorns are fully mature berries whose skins have been removed. They have less heat than the black variety and are ground into a white powder typically used to avoid black specks in food.

Green peppercorns are unripened berries, most commonly found preserved in brine and used to liven up sauces with a punch of salty vinegar and spice.

Some peppercorn blends will also feature pink peppercorns. While these pricey berries look and taste similar, they aren’t true peppercorns. Grown from a special variety of rose plant native to Madagascar and imported from France, pink peppercorns are spicy with a hint of extra sweetness.

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29 Days of Romantic Foods

by in 30 Days, Valentine's Day, February 6, 2012
chocolate strawberry
29 ways to treat your sweetheart.

Keep the month of February sweet, hot and spicy with these romantic foods.

1.    Start the month of right with 28 days of chocolate.

2.    Read up on Katie Cavuto Boyle’s sensual Valentine’s dishes.

3.    Check out Valentine’s recipes for kids and grown ups.

4.    Keep red foods on your mind.

5.    Make Ina Garten’s caviar dip.

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Super Bowl Food Face-Off

by in Food News, February 3, 2012
pizza and lobster rolls
Giants versus Patriots . . . or pizza versus lobster rolls?

As if the big game wasn’t enough excitement, we’re placing the teams’ hometowns head-to-head in a culinary battle. Put the football aside for one moment and decide – who’s got the better food?

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High Calorie Restaurant-Menu Shockers

by in Dining Out, January 31, 2012
restaurant menu
This has HOW many calories?

You probably already know that many restaurant foods are higher in calories than their homemade counterparts but some establishments take the calorie counts to new heights. We’re not saying you should never eat at these places, just don’t order these belly-busting menu items.

Diet Danger Zone
We’ve sifted through countless restaurant menus and come across some pretty scary stuff. While 1800 to 2000 calories are enough to feed most folks for the entire day, some of these popular eateries top that in just one dish.

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How to Choose a Healthy Cereal

by in Healthy Tips, January 27, 2012
cereal
Before you buy another box or pour another bowl, find out what to look for.

Cereal can be a healthy and quick breakfast, but all the information on boxes can be deceiving. We’ll school you on what to look for, plus fill you in on a few of our favorite brands.

What to Look For

1. Order of ingredients
Ingredient lists are required to display the recipe in descending order. If sugar or other suspect ingredients are listed in the top 3, move on to another option. Also be on the look out for artificial colors and preservatives.

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Bread Pudding, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, January 26, 2012

bread pudding
Soaked in sugar, eggs and half-and-half, bread pudding is decadent to say the least. Good news – it’s possible to cozy up with a tasty version of this comfort food for less calories.

Nutrition Facts
Classic bread pudding recipes can have over 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving. If you’re using doughnuts and buttery croissants instead of bread, you’d be lucky to keep things under 1000 calories.

The basic recipe is simple, combine bread with custard and bake. To lighten things up, use smarter ingredients at each stage of the recipe and keep portions to about ½ cup per person.

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