3 Easy Salsas: Green, Yellow and Red

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 7, 2013

salsa ingredients
I adore salsa, and I’ll take it any color I can find it. Any texture, too: thick, thin, chunky, smooth — it’s all good to me. I use my food processor to puree (or almost-puree) each one, but you can certainly toss together the ingredients by hand for a chunkier version.

Use these recipes as a template to create your own salsas. They’re great not only as dips but also as fresh, colorful and nutritious toppings for chicken, fish, steak, and pork tenderloin. I’ve also used pureed salsas to marinate chicken, steak and pork chops.

A few tips to get you started:

Read more

Win a Lunchbox!

by in Giveaway, August 7, 2013

 

retro lunchboxes

Bringing lunch to work doesn’t have to mean packing last night’s leftovers. Veggie-Stacked Pita Pockets and Wheat Berry Salad are just a couple of the healthy weekday lunches that are easy to make and tote. Not excited about hauling a brown paper bag to the office? Upgrade your lunchbox to one of SoYoung‘s retro-inspired prints with a playful twist. Coated in linen, these lunchboxes are modern enough for adults, yet still cute enough for kids. Available in both large and small sizes, the versatile bags can be worn messenger-style or as a backpack.

You can buy your own SoYoung Retro Lunchbox or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, whether you frequently pack or buy lunch. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, August 9 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away one SoYoung lunchbox each to three randomly-selected commenters. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.

You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on August 7 and 5 p.m. EST on August 9, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, do you frequently pack or buy lunch?

10 Stepped-Up Cucumber Salads

by in Healthy Recipes, August 6, 2013

smashed cucumber salad

It’s the time of year when cucumber season is in full swing! There are so many ways to dress up salads made with this cool summer vegetable. Here are delicious ideas to add to your recipe box.

Getting Creative
Traditional cucumber salads are made with a vinegar-based dressing, like in my 5-ingredient version. I’m proud to say that it’s always requested at my annual family Labor Day barbecue. Without an overwhelming dose of oil, calories can stay pretty low per serving.

To get creative, you can opt for a yogurt-based dressing or a touch of mayo. Spice it up with freshly chopped chile peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, toasted cumin seeds, or sesame seeds. Or add fresh herbs, like dill or mint. Try sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix in flavorful fruit like lychee, mango, dates, orange or avocado or opt for veggie add-ins like watercress, red onion, or snap peas.

Read more

Good News on the Gluten-Free Front

by in Food News, Gluten-Free, August 6, 2013

gluten-free cookies
Last week, the FDA issued concrete rules on what foods can qualify as officially gluten-free. Learn more about what this means for folks who need to avoid gluten, plus read up on some important tips.

Defining Gluten-Free
More than 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes them unable to digest gluten. The only way to treat the disease is to exclude gluten from the diet or else risk damage to the digestive system as well as nutrient deficiencies and other serious medical problems.

The new FDA rule mandates that products labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. While many companies have already set this limit for themselves, the FDA rule, which food manufacturers must comply with by this time next year, will help ensure that companies using the term are adhering to the standard.

Read more

Nutrient to Know: Quercetin

by in Nutrients to Know, August 5, 2013

onions
This lesser-known nutrient is becoming more mainstream. Find out if quercetin is plentiful in your daily diet.

What is it?
Quercetin is classified as a bioflavinoid, a plant substance with important physiological qualities. It’s plentiful in a wide variety of foods but has become increasingly popular in supplement form. But buyer beware: Large doses from supplements may be unsafe and cause kidney damage.

Read more

7 Surprising Things To Do With Tomatoes

by in Healthy Recipes, August 5, 2013

tomato and peach salad
Pretty soon, gardens and farmers’ markets will be overflowing with tomatoes. Don’t dare waste them! When they’re piling up and you’re sick of salads and sammies, turn to these fresh ideas.

# 1 Make Jam
This tangy, sweet and savory jam tastes good on just about everything. Add some cayenne pepper for an extra kick!

Recipe: Tomato Jam

# 2 Hit The Grill
Charred tomatoes take on a distinct smoky flavor that will liven up any summer meal. Place cherry tomatoes on skewers or cut larger ones in half, then drizzle with oil and grill until they’re just warm and juicy.

# 3 Pair With Peaches
It may sound bizarre, but peaches and tomatoes are a match made in taste-bud heaven.

Recipes: Tomato and Peach Soup and Tomato Peach Salad with Ricotta (above)

Read more

Market Watch: Heirloom Eggplants

by in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, August 4, 2013

heirloom eggplant
Most passersby ooh and ahh over these fantastically gorgeous nightshade veggies and then pass on buying them because they have no idea what to do with them! I’m here to help.

You certainly won’t come across these gorgeous gnarly varieties of eggplant in your local large chain grocery store. White, striped and even pumpkin-shaped — these oddly-shaped eggplants are mild and sweet and can be enjoyed in any eggplant recipe. They work especially well for roasting, grilling and other recipes where a perfect round shape isn’t necessary.

These eggplants go by names like Rosa Bianca and Pandora Striped; ask farmers at the market which varieties they’re growing.

Recipes To Try:
Eggplant Salad
Eggplant Ricotta Bites
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Grilled Eggplant with Yogurt and Mint
Roasted Eggplant Salad (Baingan-Bharta)
Pork Tenderloin with Eggplant Relish

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

How to Make a French Fry Out of (Almost) Any Vegetable

by in Robin's Healthy Take, August 3, 2013

zucchini
When you think french fries, you think potatoes, right? But who made spuds the king of the fry? Turns out, lots of delicious vegetables make great finger food, and there’s no need to deep-fry!

Read more

12 No-Cook Breakfasts

by in Healthy Recipes, No-Cook Choices, August 2, 2013

honeydew smoothie
In the sweltering days of summer, the last thing I want to do is cook anything over a hot stove. It’s the perfect time for those easy breakfasts where no heat is required.

Smoothies
It’s as simple as placing your ingredients in a blender and pushing a button. The only caveat is to watch portions so you don’t go overboard on calories.

Read more