How to Use Your Slow Cooker All Summer Long

by in Healthy Recipes, July 9, 2017

Grills get all the credit in the summer, but what if you don’t have a grill? Or what if you’re a bit timid around open flames? (I am!) Slow cookers are a perfect way to keep the kitchen cool and still get dinner on the table. Plus, they hold enough for a crowd, so whether the party theme is Tiki Time or Margarita Night, the slow cooker can make entertaining a snap.

 

Time for Tiki

Dust off your Tiki glasses and Tiki torches. A Polynesian-themed party is easy to plan with these set-it-and-forget-it recipes. Make the dessert first, then refrigerate. Either pork recipe could be served straight from the slow cooker.

A mix of coconut water and coconut milk highlights island flavors in this Coconut Brown Rice Pudding while keeping it from being too rich. Serve with fresh pineapple and mango.

Set out lots of toppings like purple cabbage, pineapple salsa and avocado to go with our Slow Cooker Pork Tacos (pictured above).

Who needs a grill when you can make Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops so tasty in the slow cooker? Read more

Why Everyone’s Sweet on Tart Cherries

by in Food News & Trends, July 7, 2017

Tart cherries are enjoying a moment in the media sweet spot, hailed for their health benefits, including their usefulness in curtailing post-workout muscle pain and inflammation. They provide a healthy alternative to over-the-counter pain relief and may work on headaches, too, the Seattle Times observed. U.S. News dubbed the fruit “the newest post-workout superfood.”

 

Tart cherries aren’t new to the list of kitchen staples Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It, recommends exploring for their health benefits. Read more

Camp Essentials: Ideas for Meals and Snacks

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, Kid-Friendly, July 5, 2017

Summer has arrived, which means school is out and camp is in. If you’re sending little ones off to day camp this summer, it’s time to think about what the heck they’re going to eat. Since camp meals can be more stressful than packing school lunches, we’ve got some tasty, healthy and easy ideas to make meal prep feel like you’re on vacation.

 

Be Cool

Summer heat is great for camp, but not for food safety. Keep lunches cool with plenty cold packs to prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Even if lunches are to be stored in refrigeration, it’s a good idea to bring an ice pack along to make sure everything stays cool during transport. Reusable ice packs are an affordable option, or use a pre-frozen 4-ounce water bottle. Read more

Market Watch: Apricots

by in In Season, July 2, 2017

With their luscious, velvety texture and sweet-tart flavor, fresh apricots are one of the highlights of summer. But unless you’re lucky enough to live near a local grower, you may never have tasted one that’s truly worth biting into. That’s because, like peaches and plums, these tender little fruits are best when allowed to ripen on the tree. One of the first of the stone fruits to arrive at markets, apricots are only available for two short months, beginning in late May and extending through mid-July. There are about a dozen common varieties, produced primarily in California, but they are also grown on a small scale in many other regions of the country. Any fruit you see during the winter months have been imported from either South America or New Zealand.

 

Apricot Facts

Apricots are rich in carotenoids and xanthophylls, nutrients that researchers believe may help protect eyesight from aging-related damage. They are also a good source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium. When dried, they lose some of their vitamin C, but become a concentrated source of iron–a particular boon to those who follow a vegetarian diet. Read more

5 Tasty Recipes to Cure What Ails You

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, June 28, 2017

Between the demands of work and family, life can get you stressed, upset and zap your energy. Luckily, there are foods you can eat to help feed your mind, body and soul. So the next time you’re feeling fatigued, stressed or your skin looks a mess, consider these recipes to cure what ails you.

Stay Energized

Instead of turning to candy which will give you a quick-fix sugar high, turn to fiber-filled whole grains like sorghum, quinoa and farro. Whole grains take longer to digest, giving you long-lasting energy. They also provide a boat load of energy-boosting B-vitamins.

Recipe: Grilled Scallops with Orange-Scented Quinoa (pictured above) Read more

Are Flavored Waters Messing with Your Tooth Enamel?

by in Healthy Tips, June 26, 2017

You’ve sworn off soda and you’re leery of juices, worried about their effects on your health and teeth. But, you figure, flavored waters, be they sparkling or still — Hint, La Croix, Ice, Poland Spring and their tasty, refreshing ilk — often pitched as a healthy alternative, should be OK, right? Except, wait, now you’re hearing that they may not be.

Are flavored waters messing with your tooth enamel? What’s a mindful sipper to do? We asked American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, a professor of restorative dentistry and associate dean for outreach and diversity at the UCLA School of Dentistry, to shed some light. Read more

3 Ways to Be Confident in Your Food Choices

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, June 22, 2017

According to the 12th Annual Food and Health Survey released by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), 78-percent of Americans encounter a lot of conflicting info about what to eat and what foods to avoid. More than 50-percent of those polled say that this conflicting info makes them doubt their food choices. Here are 5 ways you can be confident in the food decisions you make.

Stop Making Assumptions

The survey also found that many consumers are making incorrect assumptions about certain foods, including fresh verses frozen and canned. Consumers are almost five times as likely to believe a fresh product is healthier than canned and four times as likely to believe a fresh product is healthier than frozen. Read more

Trend Alert: the Urban Farm-to-Table Movement

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Food News & Trends, June 20, 2017
Vertical aeroponic gardening at Tower Gardens.

 

Farms aren’t just in the country anymore. Rooftop gardens supply dozens of Chicago restaurants with just-picked veggies. In the lobby of Vin de Set restaurant in St. Louis, diners are greeted by tall white towers growing kale for salads that night. At New York’s Bell Book & Candle, the menu is set by herbs like chervil, Opal basil and sage, all grown several stories above the dining room. Today, chefs and consumers are tasting veggies picked mere hours beforehand from restaurant rooftops, and from the abandoned parking lot turned urban farm next door.

 

Aeroponic Farming

Jeff Seibel’s official title is Farm Manager, but his unofficial title is “Urban Farmer” in St. Louis. He oversees a commercial greenhouse that supplies all of the Bibb lettuce, Romaine, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, fennel, mustard and other greens for five Hamilton Hospitality restaurants. From March to December, restaurant owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton do not order a single green leaf for their growing restaurants. “We’ve even switched up our menus to add more greens to our dishes, including green-topped pizzas, braised greens pastas and creative salads. It’s a good dilemma, to have so much just-picked produce,” said Wendy. Read more

The 6 Nutrients Vegetarians and Vegan Diets May Be Missing

by in Diets, Food & Nutrition Experts, June 17, 2017

Incorporating more meatless meals into your diet is a great way to boost health. Research shows that eating more plant-based foods and less animal products can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. However, whether you choose to eat this way part-time or all of the time, there are a few nutrients that need more planning to ensure you are getting enough. Luckily, there many whole food sources, fortified foods, and supplements to ensure you are meeting the daily nutrient requirements. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or plan on switching any time soon, be mindful of these 6 nutrients.

 

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12, found primarily in animal products, is needed for production of DNA and maintaining nerve cells. A deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia and nerve damage, among other problems. Therefore, a reliable source of B-12 is essential, especially for vegans, in order to prevent deficiency. Since fortified foods vary greatly in the amount of B12 they supply, a daily supplement is recommended instead. Read more

4 Smart Food Pairings to Boost Your Health

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, June 14, 2017

What you eat is important, but so is how you eat it. Turns out you can pair certain foods together to increase how many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you absorb — and, in some case, to reduce risk of disease. Give these four pairings a try!

 

Broccoli + citrus juice

Squeeze lemon juice onto steamed broccoli, or mix a little orange juice into a sautéed broccoli dish. The vitamin C in the citrus will help your body absorb more of the plant-based (aka non-heme) iron in the spinach. This also works with other sources of plant-based iron, such as broccoli, beans and tofu.

 Recipe to try: Lemon Broccoli (pictured above) Read more