5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer Fridge

by in Healthy Tips, May 15, 2014

5 Must-Haves for a Healthy Summer FridgeI know the 4th of July will be here in what feels like minutes. What better time, then, to “summer-ize” my fridge? I want to keep things lean, light and healthier in the summer, and by stocking my fridge (and freezer!) now, I’ll be ready for the season well before Memorial Day.

You probably do your own version of spring-cleaning in your fridge, making it healthy and appealing: chopping veggies to store in chilled water, peeling and slicing fruit into bowls for a fresh healthy dessert, or making a few batches of refreshing spa water to keep you hydrated now that the weather is warmer (see my post on that topic).

Here are my top five food items to add to your healthy and lean fridge this summer:

1. Low-Cal Condiments: I keep my fridge stocked with low-calorie condiments. I reach for these as dips or to add flavor to foods. My favorites are: Dijon mustard, hot sauce (such as Frank’s) and the less-known Slawsa. Here are some ideas for using them:

  • Dijon Mustard: Use it as a base for salad dressing. It will help emulsify a water-heavy vinaigrette, so you can make a dressing out of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water and 1 part olive oil if you start with a hefty spoonful of mustard. Or mix Dijon mustard with some chopped herbs and use it to coat chicken or pork before cooking for added moisture and flavor. Finally, try whisking it into sauces at the end of cooking for a creamy texture for almost no fat or calories.
  • Hot Sauce: Mix a few tablespoons of hot sauce with a spoonful of water and a tiny knob of melted butter, then toss with grilled chicken or fish for a healthy Buffalo-style appetizer. Or pour it over an egg white omelet tucked into a corn tortilla for a perfect breakfast or lunch soft taco.
  • Slawsa: This is a low-cal condiment of cabbage and a tangy sweet mustard. It has 15 calories per serving, and it can go on anything from sandwiches to roasted or grilled fish or chicken. It’s also great for topping a plate of eggs or loading up some baked whole-wheat pita chips. My grandmother always said her health secret was to eat cabbage every time she had a chance, so I love honoring her with my favorite condiment. Note that there is some sugar in Slawsa, which is only significant if you start eating it out of the jar by the spoonful. (I say that completely hypothetically, of course.)

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The Chef’s Take: Vegetarian Meatballs from Daniel Holzman

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 14, 2014

veggie balls

“Vegetarians want the vegetarian option not to feel like an afterthought,” says Daniel Holzman. “And so the question was how can we celebrate vegetables and make something really delicious.” This question was particularly perplexing to chef Holzman, who, in 2010, along with his partner Michael Chernow, opened a restaurant called The Meatball Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The plan, as you can imagine, was to specialize in meatballs. “We wanted to include a vegetarian meatball to be as inclusive as possible,” Holzman explains.

Their solution to the vegetarian meatball conundrum came in the form of this recipe, a green lentil meatball, which Holzman is partial to serving with a basil-spinach pesto, one of five sauces guests can choose from at each of the Meatball Shop locations (a sixth shop is opening this summer on New York City’s Upper West Side).

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Salad of the Month: Quinoa, Fava Beans and Peas

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, May 13, 2014

quinoa and fava salad
Packed with fava beans, fresh herbs and peas, this salad will bring spring to the table in an instant. Mint, dill and scallions complement the ever-so-slightly-sweet flavor of the brown-rice vinegar seasoning, creating a bright and refreshing marinade for the salad. Quinoa provides the ideal texture and background, with plenty of protein and nutrients, making this salad a complete meal. Other spring vegetables can easily be added to the mix: Try blanched asparagus, radishes or sugar snap peas. Read more

7 Vegan Recipes That Change Everything

by in Healthy Recipes, May 12, 2014

lentil burger
No meat, no cheese — no problem! Whether you’re aiming to eat a little bit cleaner or just want to be more like Beyoncé (who completed a 22-day vegan challenge last year), there’s really no wrong reason to add these vegan recipes to your repertoire.

Vegan Lentil Burgers (above)
Admit it: You’re pretty sure even the most serious vegans miss burgers from time to time. These hearty lentil burgers are packed with other wholesome ingredients, like spinach and walnuts, and get their flavor from a punchy trio of garlic, black pepper and cumin that will make you forget all about their beefy brethren.

Vegan Tofu and Spinach Scramble
For those in the “Vegan Before Six” club, we’d like to introduce you to your new egg-breakfast substitute. The tofu is spiced up with turmeric, pepper and cayenne; it may actually be better than your standard scramble. Read more

Millet, the Little Grain with Big Potential

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, May 11, 2014

millet

Millet is a small, round, gluten-free grain that cooks up light and fluffy in just 20 minutes. When cooked fresh, it has an earthy flavor and almost creamy mouthfeel. With its mild flavor and lovely sunny color, millet is an ideal grain for sweet and savory recipes.

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The Secret to Great Gluten-Free Pizza? You’d Be Surprised.

by in Gluten-Free, May 10, 2014

meatball pizza

This Jimmy Kimmel video made the rounds this week when his show stumped a few civilians on the street by asking them to explain what gluten is. But Kimmel’s best line just might have been: “People are very anti-gluten, which bothers me because I’m very pro-pizza — and you can’t be pro-pizza and anti-gluten.”

Well, it turns out you actually can be — once you have a great gluten-free pizza dough. At Food Network Kitchen, we ate A LOT of gluten-free pizzas for research purposes before we developed our own gluten-free dough. From frozen to pizzeria-fresh, we tried everything we could get our hands on. Truth be told, most were disappointingly tough and gummy. Where was that chewy pull from the crust? After lots of conversation (and chewing), we realized that we were unfairly comparing gluten-free pizza dough to regular pizza dough. They are like apples and oranges. So we adjusted our expectations and found a few gluten-free pizzas that were good — and even some that were more than good.

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7 Healthy Breakfasts That Will Show Mom the Love

by in Healthy Recipes, May 9, 2014

blueberry french toast
Whether your mother is a recent kale convert or wouldn’t touch health food with a ten-foot-fork, one of these dishes is sure to match her unique brand of awesomeness. Here’s what to make if …

 … your mom is on a whole-grain kick: Blueberry Almond French Toast (above)
When it comes to brunch, you just can’t beat French toast — and lucky for you, this one is a cinch to throw together. Assemble slices of a whole-wheat baguette, soak them in batter and scatter blueberries and almonds on top the night before. The next morning, just plunk the dish in the oven and bake.

… your mom has always been a health superstar: Zucchini “Hash Browns” with Eggs
You had the mom who was always buying brown rice? And almond milk? Like, before they were cool? Then she will appreciate this virtuous version of hash browns. Zucchini replaces the usual potatoes while fried eggs deliver a hearty hit of protein. Serving it up with whole-wheat toast helps pack in fiber — and makes it easier to mop up the egg-y goodness. For dessert: A smoothie loaded with berries, bananas, vanilla yogurt and just a touch of honey.
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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, May 8, 2014

tofu
In this week’s news: Tofu firms up its fan base; Butter Image Rehab 2014 continues; and a soda giant refreshes its ingredient list.

Tofu, Always Blending In, Takes a Mainstream Approach
Given tofu’s admirable protein content, lack of cholesterol and relatively high amount of calcium, you’d think health reasons might be its biggest selling points. Yet those qualities didn’t seem to matter so much among women ages 20 to 35 in new research from Brian Wansink’s Cornell Food and Brand Lab. When the researchers told the study’s non-tofu eaters about the health benefits, just 12 percent said they’d consider giving it a go. But when the scientists talked about price or showed an easy ten-minute recipe with the tagline “Cooks Like Chicken,” nearly 50 percent of non-users jumped on the bandwagon. Whether it tastes like chicken seems beside the point: The three most popular uses — tofu scramble, tofu stir-fry, salad mix-in — seem to accommodate just about any mystery meat.

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When It Comes to Greek Yogurt, Thinking Outside the Bowl

by in Cookbooks, May 8, 2014

greek yogurt

Cookbook author Toby Amidor is a registered dietitian, a mother of three and a regular contributor to Healthy Eats – which might just be some kind of nutrition intelligence trifecta. She has long been a fan of Greek yogurt, not only for the flavor but also for the numerous dietary benefits it bestows. Her passion for the tangy ingredient inspired a compilation of over 130 delectable recipes, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen, out this week. Here, she talks about why Greek yogurt has a range that exceeds the usual parfaits and smoothies — although those, of course, are always great too.

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The Chef’s Take: Vegetable Soup with Pesto from Jody Williams

by in Chefs and Restaurants, May 7, 2014

soup

At both branches of Buvette, Jody Williams’s restaurants in New York City and Paris, sumptuous small plates are served throughout the day from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. in cramped spaces that ooze French-country charm. In the morning, croissants and steamed eggs are on the menu, and at night, pâtés and French-leaning tapas appear.

Whatever the time of day, Williams has considered how to make every morsel served feel extra-special. “We cook with a certain sense of purity and emphasize whole, natural foods. I put a lot of thought into what’s coming into my restaurant and what’s going into my pots and pans,” she explains. “Certainly soupe au pistou,” says Williams of the classic vegetable soup with pesto, “is flush with health and nutrients.”

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