White beans are deliciously creamy, extremely versatile and can be made into tasty protein-rich meals or snacks in minutes. When using white beans or any other canned beans, be sure to drain off the liquid in the can, rinse them a couple of times and then drain them well. These steps will remove any flavors the beans have absorbed from the can and give you the perfect base for any of these recipes. In general I like to use cannellini beans for their larger size and creamy interior but navy beans will also work well.
In this week’s news: Mondays are the new January 1; “sad desk lunch” is no way to live; and salt gets a sprinkling of controversy.
T.G.I. … Monday?
New Year’s Day is notorious for being the time for all kinds of resolutions we know we’ll break (or simply ignore). Now, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that we treat Monday like a weekly January first. Cue Twilight Zone music. When researchers looked at health-related Google queries from 2004 to 2012, they found a consistent spike on Mondays and Tuesdays, followed by a steady decline through the rest of the week — and finished off with a big plunge on Saturday. Enter the Monday Campaigns, an initiative put forth by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications. To date, they’ve been keeping the Internet abuzz with Meatless Monday, now practiced in 31 countries worldwide. But there’s more to come, say the seize-the-Monday folks. Expect to see campaigns like Monday 2000, which encourages people to balance out their daily calorie counts, and a child-friendly Kids Cook Monday.
Step. Away. From. Your. Desk.
Did you know that 65 percent of Americans eat lunch at their desks or don’t take a break? Or that people who eat at their desks tend to eat more calories and snacks than those who eat out? Probably. Or you could have guessed. But don’t let that stop you from watching the hilarious new video from James Hamblin, MD, The Atlantic’s online health editor: “Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?” The title speaks for itself, and if you like the video, check out Buzzfeed’s take. They made “the most delightful MD ever” into a gif.
Whipping up a healthy meal doesn’t have to be a source of agita — or a gigantic time commitment. Each of these good-for-you dinners is ready in 25 (make that 24!) to 40 minutes.
Swiss Chard Soup: 40 min (above, from Food Network Magazine)
Swiss Chard is in charge when it comes to this satisfying soup. Cooked in a spicy caraway- and cumin-scented broth, the greens go wilt-y before being topped with hard-boiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Dinner is done in 40 minutes, i.e., less than the time it takes to catch up on an episode of Downton Abbey.
“As far as I’m concerned, vegetables — plant foods in general — are good things to eat and we should eat more of them. That’s as far as we need to go,” says Deborah Madison, the founding chef of Greens, the trailblazing vegetarian restaurant that opened in San Francisco back in 1979. “I am flavor-focused, not nutrition-focused.”
The fresh and tangy flavors of citrus fruit never fail to wake up taste buds in the morning. Serving a selection of different varieties is a great way to make a striking yet super simple breakfast. But the addition of vanilla-infused honey and a sprinkle of fragrant toasted pistachios takes it up a notch.
A longtime filmmaker and environmental activist (she produced the Academy Award–winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth), Laurie David is now on a crusade to change the way America eats. A lofty goal, for sure, but after revamping the way her own family approached food, she’s primed to share her practical yet sly spin on healthier home cooking (sample recipe: Roasted Cauliflower “Popcorn”). A few years back, she coauthored The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids One Meal at a Time, cookbook that combined recipes with advice on how to establish a regular and semi-sane dinner routine. She’s now followed that up with her new book, The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You, out this week. David also tackles the issue of childhood obesity in her new documentary, Fed Up, co-produced with Katie Couric and slated for release on May 9th.
These seasonal beauties want you to know there’s more to them than total deliciousness.
In addition to offering their trademark crunch and peppery snap, radishes list potassium, calcium, folate and fiber on their resumes.
I grew up in a store-bought, premade pancake batter household. On Saturday mornings we were happy to shake the carton and pour our way to breakfast heaven. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the pancakes of my youth. But now I know better. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped eating pancakes altogether. Instead I make them from scratch with wholesome ingredients.
They simmer in stocks, accentuate pot roast and stand in as a crunchy, good-for-you snack between meals. But in the hands of deft chefs, taken-for-granted carrots are fast becoming the highlight of the dinner table.
“Carrots have a nice bright flavor, sweet, with the slightest bit of bitterness and astringency,” says Rob Marzinsky, executive chef of Fitler Dining Room, in Philadelphia. At the restaurant he combines a melange of carrots — yellow, white, Purple Haze and Kyoto red among them. The baby ones are roasted with whole spices and coffee beans, while the larger varieties are sauteed in shallot, ginger, jalapeno and the North African spice mixture, ras el hanout. Marzinsky then pairs them with farro from nearby Castle Valley Mill that’s dressed in ginger-carrot vinaigrette, a “pesto” made with carrot leaves and tangy yogurt.
In this week’s news: Mondays get even more meatless; the world learns what happens when a household bans sugar (hint: a book deal); and coupon-clipping takes a healthier turn.
Hitting the Beach — and the Tofu
Why book Canyon Ranch when you can visit Grandma in Boca? Earlier this week, the Florida city announced that it was joining Meatless Mondays – a national movement that advocates exactly what the name suggests. The logic is this: Research suggests that when you eliminate a day’s worth of meat, you’re cutting 15 percent of saturated fat intake. That, in turn, may decrease your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Twenty percent of Boca Raton’s residents are 65 or older, and with role models like Bill Clinton, whose health swami — Mark Hyman — was featured in the New York Times earlier this week, it might not be a surprise that the trend caught on.