5 Kitchen Habits to Break (Let’s Get Some Food Safety Up in Here)

by in Food Safety, September 27, 2014

kitchen towels
We often think those small bad habits in the kitchen are no big deal. But it’s the little things that can lead to food-borne illness. In honor of Food Safety Month (September!), here are five less-than-squeaky-clean practices worth quitting.

The Habit: reusing grocery bags
A survey conducted by the Home Food Safety program found that 85 percent of Americans aren’t washing their reusable grocery bags. The problem: Raw foods, including meat, chicken and eggs, leave potentially harmful bacteria inside those totes. And those bacteria can be transferred to produce if the same bag is reused without being cleaned. Read more

Taste Test: Green Cold-Pressed Juice

by in Taste Test, September 26, 2014

green juices
The rising popularity of cold-press juices has brought an influx of bottled products to the market. But is there anything specific you should be looking for when you buy? For starters, it helps to know what “cold-pressed” means: Also known as high pressure processing (HPP), cold-pressing applies very high pressure to raw juice in order to kill any harmful microorganisms that may be present. Once HPP is applied, the juice is placed into a bottle, sealed and refrigerated.

The Criteria
For this taste test, each variety of cold-pressed juice contained at least one green vegetable (be it kale, celery, cucumber or anything else with a verdant tint). We rated the bottled stuff on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest score), assessing each juice for taste, nutrition, serving size and cost.  We were also on the lookout for any ingredients that surprisingly jack up the calories. Bottles ranged in size from 10 fluid ounces to 16. Read more

Dipping Into the World of Honey

by in Healthy Tips, September 25, 2014

honeycomb
Honey is one of the regulars in my rotation of natural sweeteners. It’s also traditionally eaten during Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize a sweet New Year. But the days of the honey bear as the lone option on market shelves is long gone.

Honey Flavors
There are over 300 varieties of honey in the United States. Each has a unique flavor profile, anything from mild to distinctively bold, and the honey hues range from nearly colorless to deep brown. Read more

The Chef’s Take: John Fraser’s Grilled Squash Salad with Falafel Croutons

by in Chefs and Restaurants, September 24, 2014

Narcissa Summer Squash SaladAt Narcissa, André Balazs’ and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s buzz-worthy restaurant in The Standard Hotel in the East Village, ingredients are sourced from Balazs’ Hudson Valley Farm, and seasonality shines on the menu. The result: food that’s almost as beautiful as the people eating it.

Fraser, who just launched lunch in at Narcissa last week, explains that he tried to create a menu that would appeal to all kinds of appetites. “Some people indulge and want to eat and drink way too much, and others don’t want to feel like they are going to spend the afternoon in a food coma,” he said. “As I have gotten older, I have recognized that the way I eat dictates how I feel. I think about that when I create my menus.”

Read more

Breakfast of the Month: Gluten-Free Pear Muffins

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, September 23, 2014

pear muffins
The wisp of crispness in the air is always a reliable prompt to get back into the kitchen. There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than by baking something sweet and fragrant. These muffins fill the air with the aromas of cardamom, coconut, vanilla and pears. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are also vegan, naturally sweetened and whole-grain. They will most likely please everyone.

Chia seeds and ground flax, along with a little mashed banana, bind the batter and provide a moist and cakey backdrop for the cooked pears. The chia seeds also impart a lovely crunchy texture. Served with a cup of tea, the muffins make the perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat. Read more

5 Rosh Hashanah Dishes with a Healthy Side

by in Healthy Holidays, September 22, 2014

poached pears
Much of the celebration surrounding the Jewish New Year, which begins Wednesday night, revolves around foods like the traditional apple dipped in honey, to signify a sweet new year. But there’s plenty of more room at the feast. Read more

7 Side Dishes Starring Fall Produce

by in Healthy Recipes, September 21, 2014

collard greens and squash
Yeah, you could be sad that summer is on it way out. But you could also be happy that fall is on its way — and brimming with tasty options.

Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash
Take a break from kale and cook up some collards, the Southern staple that happens to be a nutritional powerhouse. Sweet butternut squash tempers the bitterness of the greens while freshly grated ginger adds a surprising burst of flavor. Read more

A Creamy Broccoli Dip That’s a Healthy Winner

by in Scaling Back on Sodium, September 20, 2014

creamy broccoli dip
Fall not only means the start of football season — it also means the start of many Sunday meals getting replaced by chips and dip, salty bar snacks and microwave finger foods. But filling up while watching your favorite team doesn’t have to be a losing situation for your health. Nor does it have to keep you limited to raw vegetables from the crudites platter.

This year, replace high-sodium, store-bought spreads with a dip of your own creation — one that’s just as creamy and craveable and also a fun makeover of classic ranch dressing and vegetables.

Read more

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, September 19, 2014

bread and butter
In this week’s news: Comfort foods are found to be not so soothing; diet soda gets a gut check; and addiction programs quit with the sweets.

Cold Comfort for Comfort Food Fans
What’s your go-to food when you’re feeling down? Carbs? Ice cream? You might as well reach for the carrot sticks and celery — or not snack at all. A new study has found that scarfing down comfort foods doesn’t actually boost mood more than eating healthier foods — or no food — does. Bad moods go away, the researchers determined, whether we eat that big pile of cookies or not. “We found no justification for people to choose comfort foods when they are distressed,” the researchers concluded, adding that they hoped their findings would lead people to skip the high-cal indulgences and “focus on other, food-free methods of improving their mood.” Read more

8 Cleverly Bread-Free Sandwiches

by in Healthy Recipes, September 18, 2014

iceberg BLT
Whether you’re dialing down refined carbs, giving up gluten or watching your sodium intake (bread adds up on that front), these loaf-free sandwiches — most of which sub in vegetables in place of the usual buns, baguettes, wraps and rolls — all have one thing in common: They’ll satisfy any sandwich craving.

BLT (above)
Bun-less BLT? You heard that right — almost. Instead of playing its usual supporting role, iceberg lettuce steps up its game by sandwiching together this otherwise classic combo of crisp bacon, sliced tomatoes and zesty mayo. Read more