How Many Almonds in a Serving?

by in Healthy Tips, April 21, 2013

almonds
Almonds are a great between-meal snack that both fills you up and provides a nutritional punch. One handful of nutrient-dense almonds gives you not only 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 75 mg of calcium, but also 13 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are the heart-healthy fats that may help lower total cholesterol and LDL (monounsaturated fats help raise HDL levels too), which can decrease the risk of heart disease.

A serving of almonds has 162 calories, 14 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and 6 grams of protein, and when snacking on almonds, portion control is key. One serving of almonds is 23 almonds, which equals 1 ounce, ¼ cup or about 1 handful. One portion should fit into a small spice bottle or baby food jar or – if you’re snacking at the office – should cover the surface of one 3″x3″ sticky note. Use the photo above to help you remember, or put old baby food jars or spice bottles to new use as almond snack-containers.

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Blogger Spotlight: Dulcie and Sarah from Two Tarts

by in Blogger Spotlight, April 19, 2013
Two Tarts is run by Dulcie Wilcox and Sarah Welle, two friends with a shared passion for cooking and photography. When you visit their blog, you’ll find beautiful seasonal recipes using local ingredients. While the Colorado natives are known to make almost everything from scratch, their recipes keep the everyday home cook in mind. They believe that when working with quality ingredients, simple is best. The duo also runs Colorado Crafted, an artisanal food business selling curated gift boxes filled with locally-made gourmet goods.

How long have you two been friends? How did the idea for the blog come up?

We met in 2010 at storytime at our local library! We both had toddlers that had just begun to walk, so initially it was the kids who brought us together (they are now three years old and best buddies). We are both foodies and big advocates for eating whole foods, and we had both dabbled in blogging. It just made sense to team up and create a better blog than either of us could do on our own. We often get asked if one of us takes the photos and one writes the content, but it is truly a team effort and often we don’t even know who was behind the lens for a particular shot.

Dulcie, which of Sarah’s recipes is your favorite? Sarah, same question.

Dulcie: One of my favorites is Sarah’s homemade harissa. When she suggested doing it, I didn’t even know what harissa was! And I was never a big fan of overly spicy foods. But each time I’ve made a batch, I’ve used it at nearly every meal until it is gone. So good.

Sarah: Dulcie introduced me to the oven-puffed pancake, which I’d never thought to make at home before. It looks so puffy and impressive and beautiful that I just assumed it’d be difficult to make at home – let alone as breakfast first thing in the morning. But it’s actually much more simple (and fast!) to make than traditional pancakes, and I make it ALL the time now. It’s definitely a new favorite at our house, thanks to Dulcie.

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Organizing Your Spice Cabinet

by in Uncategorized, April 18, 2013

spices
Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of spices spilling from your cupboard? It seems that whenever you need a particular seasoning—from cumin to cardamom and basil to bay leaf—it finds its way to the far back, leaving you sorting through scores of jars and bottles for that certain one.

When working with clients they often ask me how I know which herbs and spices work together and how to go about building flavor.  This is no small task and something even the best chefs are constantly trying to master.  I’ve put together this fun little guide to help you navigate the spice aisle and your cabinet so the next time you’re craving a certain cuisine or just looking to get creative with flavors you will have some guidelines.

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Meet This Grain: Freekeh

by in Healthy Recipes, April 17, 2013

freekeh
Freekeh (pronounced free-kah), is an ancient grain that’s had new-found popularity lately. If you haven’t seen it on supermarket shelves or on the menu at your favorite restaurant, be on the lookout; you will soon.

What is Freekeh?
In Arabic, the word freekeh means “to rub.” About 2,000 years ago, the grain was created by accident when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their young green wheat crop was set on fire. The villagers rubbed off the burnt outer layers and cooked up the grain, and thus freekeh was born. It has a crunchy, nutty taste, which has been described as a cross between brown rice and barley.

What Makes Freekeh So Healthy?
One half cup of cooked freekeh has about 130 calories, 1 gram of total fat and 8 grams of protein. It’s free of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. This ancient gem is an excellent source of manganese, providing 70% of your recommended daily amount. It’s also a good source of fiber (with 4 grams per ¼ cup dry), plus phosphorus and magnesium. Freekeh is a whole grain so adding it to your diet can help you meet the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines to make half your grains whole.

Freekeh is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two plant chemicals that have been shown to aid in eye health. This ancient grain also seems to work as a prebiotic, helping good bacteria flourish in the digestive tract.

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Chimichangas

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 16, 2013

chimichanga
The chimichanga, or chimi as it’s affectionately termed in the Southwest, is a deep-fried burrito stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices. Once fried to perfection, chimichangas are often topped with cheese and served with a variety of condiments, such as green onions, diced tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and black olives. Sounds delicious, right? It is delicious, but  consider that one restaurant-style chimi has around 760 calories, 34 grams of fat and 1,930 mg of sodium. With that much sodium, you’re done for the day  — you’ll have reached your daily max in sodium in only one meal. Store-bought frozen chimichangas fare slightly better, with around 300-500 calories, 25 grams of fat and 1,200 mg of sodium per serving. Filling aside, it’s the deep-frying that does most of the damage. Regular burritos have about 200-300 calories and 10-20 grams of fat each, but drop them into the deep-fryer and you can add 225 calories and 21 grams of fat to each burrito. Yes, the deep-fried, crunchy exterior is great, but not worth the health consequences, especially when a healthier version is so easy to make.

You can stuff flour tortillas with delicious ingredients and then bake the chimichangas in the oven for the same, amazing result. Try this recipe and let me know if you agree. Read more

The Veggie Table: Foods That Sound Vegan, But Really Aren’t

by in The Veggie Table, April 15, 2013

tomato soup
A couple of years ago I posted about eight sneaky foods vegetarians should avoid because they contain surprising animal-based ingredients. Since that list was not entirely exhaustive, I’ve come up with a part-two post to help you avoid those foods that may seem vegan or vegetarian, but in fact are not. Most of these foods are found in restaurants, so be sure to ask before ordering so you know what you’re getting.

Vegetable soup – I know what you’re thinking: “How could a vegetable soup have meat in it?!” While there may not be hunks of meat, I’ve come across vegetable soups in restaurants that are in fact made with chicken or beef broth. Unfortunately not all restaurants make this known unless you ask. If you spot a soup on the menu that seems to be entirely vegetable-based, it’s worth a quick question to your server or the chef to be sure. Read more

How To Build A Healthy Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, April 14, 2013

crab and avocado salad
From choosing the greens to pouring the dressing, building a healthy salad requires some thought. Selecting the ingredients carefully or you can end up with a 1,000+ calorie meal.

Work Your Way Up
Start from the bottom and work your way up to the dressing. First course of action: Select your greens. Good choices include romaine, spinach, or a combo of field greens. Keep in mind that iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients than darker greens, and build your salad on a plate or in a bowl — stay away from the calorie-laden crunchy taco shell.

The Veggies
Choose several colorful veggies to top your salad like tomatoes, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and bell peppers. More colors mean a wider variety of nutrients. This is a great opportunity to use leftover veggies that are lingering in the fridge—and a perfect way to minimize food waste.

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Healthy Cooking Method: Parchment Packet Cooking

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 13, 2013

parchment packet cooking
In France they call it “en papillote”. In Italy, it’s “al cartoccio”. In America, we call it parchment cooking. What does it mean? Very simply, it’s a cooking technique that involves wrapping food, typically fish, chicken and/or vegetables in parchment paper. Once wrapped like an envelope, the “packet” is baked in the oven until the entire meal is moist, tender and cooked to perfection.

The technique may sound fancy in other languages, but it’s actually quite simple. Even better? It’s probably the least messy cooking method because it doesn’t involve any pots or pans. Nutritionally speaking, because all ingredients are assembled in a packet, very little (if any) fat is needed, making it a fantastic cooking technique for the Healthy Eats crowd. Read more

Blogger Spotlight: Gina Harney of The Fitnessista

by in Blogger Spotlight, April 12, 2013
Gina Harney is a new mom, military wife, food enthusiast and certified fitness instructor. She focuses on eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies but fully admits to her love of chocolate and wine too. With the motto “being fit is always in style,” Gina’s blog, The Fitnessista features workout tips and a wide range of easy and fun healthy recipes.
 
When did your passion for fitness begin?

I grew up dancing, but paired the high activity with often-unhealthy (but delicious!) food. In college, my eating habits took their toll and I started to experiment with different types of fitness to get to a healthy weight. I lost 40 lbs in college after embarking on a healthy lifestyle through walking (which eventually turned into running), strength training and cleaning up my diet.

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks?

It depends on the time of day. If I can squeeze in an early workout, I’ll often have something small (1/2 a banana and almond butter) and the bulk of my breakfast afterwards, making sure to enjoy a balance of carbs and protein, with a little fat in there. I love egg burritos! If I teach or work out at night or during the day, I’ll have a protein-packed salad beforehand, and enjoy a couple of protein balls afterwards.

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Trail Mix-Wild Rice Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, April 12, 2013

rice salad
With so many hip grains like quinoa and millet on the market it is easy to forget about options like wild rice.  This nutty, fiber and nutrient-rich grain is not only good for you but when mixed with long grain brown rice it’s an inexpensive, whole-grain option. The chewy rice lends nicely to the dense, chewy dried fruits and when paired with the crunch of nuts and seeds this salad is very inviting.

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