Halva, the Middle Eastern sesame candy, is a dessert favorite. Dense and rich, it tastes like peanut buttery fudge and is often layered with ribbons of chocolate. What could be better? Just one problem: It’s traditionally loaded with sugar. Israeli native Shahar Shamir was a huge halva fan too, but as a former dancer keen on keeping healthy, he was hesitant to dig in.
A home cook since the age of eight (his mother taught him everything he knows), Shamir decided to fiddle with a recipe of his own, grinding sesame seeds with honey and roasted nuts, and making something that more closely resembled a nut butter than a candy. His rendition also dispensed with the usual hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. He served his new-fangled halva spreads to friends at dinner parties. They went wild.
Summer days (and nights) call for refreshing, light meals that require little or no advance planning. Much of the time, a salad of the leafy variety will hit the spot, but it might not be substantial enough to get you through to the next meal. Here, chickpeas replace the lettuce in this Greek salad, transforming the dish into a meal that’s ideal for lunch or dinner.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated athlete, sometimes you need a sports drink for longer bouts of physical activity — generally exercise sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes. While there are many products on the market that can take care of this need, you may prefer to make your own so you can create your own flavors and control which ingredients are used.
A Harvard University study released last month found that kids gain weight more quickly over the summer than during the school year. With the warm weather and more opportunities to play outdoors, one might think the opposite is true. But it turns out there are several factors at play.
The study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, compiled and analyzed the results of seven studies published since 1990. The studies were conducted among children ages 5 to 17. The researchers found that black, Hispanic and overweight children and adolescents were at highest risk of gaining weight quickly over the summer. The study determined that these adolescents gained weight because they spent more time in front of TV and computer screens and were more likely to eat unhealthy snacks. These children also may have slept less, as their summer days were less structured compared with those during the school year.
What Parents Can Do
There are several basic strategies that can help keep kids from gaining weight during summer vacation. Here are five.
Independence Day may be over, but the summer berry season is just hitting its stride. If your kitchen is bursting with all kinds of juicy gems, here’s a collection of red and blue berry desserts fit for any summer celebration.
Super-high in fiber (one cup provides more than 30 percent of the daily recommended value), these delicate berries can be found in various shades — including red white, black and purple – at farmers markets. Make homemade sherbet better than anything out of the freezer aisle or layer raspberries with other summer fruits in a cool and colorful terrine.
In this week’s news: Imagining the coffee-pod version of Soylent; sizing up gummy bears as body-builder food; and creating a non-profit supermarket in a low-income suburb.
Make Mine a Decaf — with Extra Vitamin D
Nestle researchers have announced they are developing tools to analyze an individual’s levels of essential nutrients such that they can offer custom-blended drinks tailored to a person’s specific dietary needs. The end goal, they say, is to create a Nespresso-like machine to brew it all up just like your morning joe. Comparisons to Soylent, the Silicon Valley–born meal substitute promising to forevermore eliminate your need to chew, have already been made. That said, don’t hold your breath for the coffeemaker version. The kinds of workups Nestle is talking about currently cost around $2,000 per person.
If you’re searching for a side dish that cools things off and heats them up at the same time, this is the recipe. Two star ingredients of the warm-weather months, corn and watermelon, take a zingy turn with the help of traditional street-corn chili-powder seasoning and a quick pickle. With just a few minutes of prep work, you’ll create a colorful salad that highlights the sweet flavors of watermelon and corn, all balanced by a spicy surprise. Also nice: The salad offers a refreshing counterpoint to traditional barbecue fare.
Looking for something refreshingly fun to beat the heat this summer? Check out these sensible sippers. Read more
Peaches have a subtle flavor that can easily be masked by stronger ones, so if you want the peach to shine, stick to ingredients that enhance their floral quality.
Here, I add a pinch of fresh ginger, vanilla and a touch of honey — along with soaked cashews, which create a velvety texture when blended with fruit. Freezing the peaches beforehand results in an ultra-thick and creamy smoothie that goes down well on hot, humid days.