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Summer Fest: What To Do With Overripe Peaches

by in Uncategorized, August 15, 2012
Ellie's Peach Pie Smoothie is a healthy and refreshing take on a classic dessert.

Peaches are one of the top reasons I love summer. There is nothing quite like biting into a ripe, juicy peach on a hot day and feeling the sweet nectar dribble down your mouth. Napkin? No, thank you.

Unfortunately, peaches are the kind of fruit that can get overripe pretty quickly. Forget them in your crisper for even a few days, and you are stuck with mushy, bruised fruit. Luckily, there are loads of healthy ways to prepare overripe peaches that still bring out all the same delicious summery, peachy flavor. Here are Healthy Eats’ top 5 uses for peaches that are past their prime.

1. Make a chutney – The peaches are already mushy, so they will cook quickly. Plus, you are cooking them with loads of other pungent flavors like shallots, mustard and cherries, so you don’t have to worry about tasting any sourness that might have developed in your peaches.

Recipe: Food Network Kitchens’ Peach-Mustard Chutney

2. Freeze them and blend them into smoothie – Freeze overripe peaches and blend them into a refreshing fruit smoothie. The final product will have great peach flavor and color, and no one will be able to tell they were bruised or mushy to begin with. Freezing peaches generally is also a great way to preserve them past the summer months.

Recipe: Ellie’s Peach Pie Smoothie (above)

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Healthy Snacks for a Day at the Beach

by in Uncategorized, August 11, 2012

beach picnic
About 2 hours into my first day on the beach this summer I realized I had not planned well. The ice cream man began ringing his bell which automatically triggered my hunger. I dug through my beach bag and found nothing resembling food. After taking a swig of warm water from my half-filled water bottle I realized I needed to plan a bit better for my next day in the sun.

It’s easy to crave to junk food when on vacation or stranded on the beach for several hours. For me, packing healthy snacks is the way to go especially because the last thing I want is to feel bloated or sluggish in my bikini. Here are my picks for beach-friendly snacks that can translate easily into options for any outdoor outing this summer.

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Summer Fest: A Day of Peppers

by in Uncategorized, August 8, 2012

Sliding a knife through its glossy skin, the pepper’s crunchy disposition is immediately audible. We hear it when we’re chomping away on a raw slice and we relish it still when it’s cooked off into a sweeter, softer version of itself. Unlike a scorching hot chili pepper, the bell pepper is known for its unique, refreshing sweetness. Whether red, green, orange, purple or yellow, bell peppers can take us from breakfast to dinnertime, breathing color and texture into our meals.

Looking for ways to incorporate abundant, in-season bell peppers into three main meals? Take a peek out our list of breakfast-to-dinner recipes.

Breakfast
Roasted Red Pepper Frittata
Breakfast Burritos

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Summer Fest: The Fresh-for-Once Tomato

by in Uncategorized, August 1, 2012

There’s the bottle of ketchup in the fridge. A weightlifter’s load of canned tomatoes in the pantry—crushed and whole, of course. You’ve got your tomato paste, your bag of sun-dried, your jar of marinara, your jarred salsas and your canned tomato soups. You could survive a natural disaster with the amount of tomatoes in your house. In its preserved form, the tomato is your lifeblood, your fallback. A sauce injects limp pasta with life and tomato soup reinvigorates grilled cheese with just a dip. It graces the tops of our favorite pizzas and finds its way on top of our hotdogs. Tomato products—keyword: products—build the foundation of our kitchens and is one of the only products that we do not insist on freshness. And that’s fine, up until a certain point.

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Cooking With Wood Planks

by in Uncategorized, July 28, 2012

cedar planked salmon
Cedar and other wood-plank cooking is probably one of the oldest “new” food trends around. It’s a technique that was used by the Northwest Native Americans to roast fish, meats and fowl. Nowadays, adventurous chefs can choose between baking and barbeque planks in variety of woody flavors. Baking planks may be used again and again to impart subtle flavor while maintaining the natural juices in meats and vegetables alike. Barbeque planks also add truly unique flavor, combining the earthiness of the wood plank and the smokiness of the grill.

When choosing planks, pick only untreated cedar, alder, hickory or maple. Using treated wood may actually poison the food as well as the person enjoying it. Also remember that some woods are bolder than others— cedar is more aromatic and adds stronger woodsy flavor while alder is milder and sweeter, with a very subtle flavor. If you are baking with a cedar plank, be sure to keep temperatures at or below 425°.  For grilling, soak the plank for one to four hours in water, wine, or apple, citrus or berry juices. You could even use tea. This adds moisture to the wood along with complimentary flavors, which prevents the plank from burning on the grill or in the oven.

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Summer Fest: Summer Squash, Any Way You Slice It

by in Uncategorized, July 25, 2012
Zucchini Rounds: Like pepperoni, but different!

The summer squash is like a Little Black Dress: it’s one of the more versatile items in your fridge (or closet). It comes in many different varieties like zucchini (cylindrical and green), crookneck (usually yellow and bent) or pattypan (white-ish and flat). So what is it that makes this glorious summer vegetable so multipurpose? In the end, it comes down to how you slice it. Grate it, and it becomes hash; thinly slice it, and it becomes carpaccio; halve it, and it becomes a base for stuffing. It is the quintessential chameleon vegetable, and as long as you know all the ways you can cut it, the possibilities are truly endless.

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The Versatile Coconut

by in Uncategorized, July 14, 2012

coconut
For many people, coconuts conjure up an image of a tropical island vacation but this versatile fruit has far more benefits and applications than flavoring  a piña coladas. Coconuts have been studied for their antimicrobial, antiviral and immune boosting properties due to the medium chain fatty acids, lauric acid and capric acid, found in them. Fresh coconuts can be found whole in many grocery stores and ethnic markets. Coconut has been getting quite a bit of buzz lately and you may have seen a wide variety of coconut products available at your grocery store.  Have you been wondering what are they and if they’re good for you?  Well I did too, and here is the scoop.

Coconut water is the thin, slightly opaque liquid found inside freshly cracked coconuts. One cup of coconut water has 46 calories and is a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. Opt for an unsweetened version; the added sugars and flavors make a good thing less healthy really quickly.

Coconut milk is a creamy, non-dairy alternative made by processing coconut meat with water. Again, unsweetened is best.  Coconut milk is used in many non-dairy ice creams as well and let me tell you, it is tasty!

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Eating By Color: Red, White and Blue

by in Uncategorized, July 4, 2012

potato salad
Celebrate July 4th by getting the most out of your red, white, and blue foods. We’re not talking artificially-colored goodies, but rather fresh and delicious fruits and veggies in naturally-patriotic tones.

Red
Red hued foods have tons of antioxidants like vitamins A and C. They get their red color from phytochemicals like lycopene and anthocyanins. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in foods like watermelon and tomatoes and helps protect our healthy tissues from free-radical damage. Anthocyanins are found in foods like cherries and strawberries. This powerful antioxidant helps fight inflammation and protects your blood vessels and nervous system.

Cooking with Tea

by in Uncategorized, June 24, 2012
mint tea
Tea -- it's for more than sipping.

A few weeks back we talked about the different types of teas and why they are so good for you. This week I wanted to expand on the topic because believe it or not, you can do more with tea than just drink it. Tea is a hot new trend in the cooking world and adding tea to a recipe is a perfectly healthy way to cook.

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What’s Nutritional Yeast?

by in Uncategorized, June 2, 2012
nutritional yeast
Have you tried nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a source of great mystery for most people. Isn’t yeast what makes bread rise? And beer ferment? Yes, but nutritional yeast is quite different. It’s non-active yeast that has been grown (usually on glucose or another simple sugar), deactivated by heat, then dried, pasteurized and eventually sold in your neighborhood health food store. You may see it commercially as flakes for a yellowish powder (looks like cornmeal). Some cook with it but it is also popular as a condiment. So what’s the hype?

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