Spice of the Month: Caraway Seed

by in Healthy Recipes, March 10, 2013

caraway
They’re what gives rye bread its classic flavor, but you can do so much more with this robust spice.

Caraway Basics
This member of the parsley family has a pungent aroma and flavor, nutty and warm with a hint of anise. This ancient slivered, black seed is a common element in Austrian and German cooking.

Available in both whole and ground seeds, whole seeds have a potent flavor and aroma. If a recipe calls for ground seeds, grind up just before using for best results.

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15 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, March 9, 2013

cauliflower couscous
Everyone’s buzzing about cauliflower these days. It’s simple, tasty and apparently very trendy; we love that this cruciferous veggie is getting a chance to shine!

Healthy Attributes
Low in calories (25 per cup) but high in nutrients (fiber and vitamins C, K and B6), cauliflower also boasts various antioxidants, including those that may help prevent certain types of cancer.

Cauliflower is unique because has the ability to morph into many different forms. When it’s mashed, pureed, roasted or boiled – the texture and flavor completely change.

White is the most widely available variety, but you may also be able to find green, purple and orange versions at your local famers’ market.

Mains
Mahi Mahi With Cauliflower
Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta
Shepherd’s Pie
No-Bake Macaroni and Cheese

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Anne Burrell Joins the Great American School Lunch Challenge

by in Food News, MyPlate, March 8, 2013

Anne BurrellNo stranger to friendly food competition, Anne Burrell is a seasoned restaurant chef known for her no-nonsense mentorship of a team of recruits on Worst Cooks in America and eager executive-chef hopefuls on Chef Wanted. In Washington, D.C. yesterday, she donned her chef’s hat for a worthy cause, taking the stage next to Iron Chef Jose Garces for a good-natured cook-off in the Great American School Lunch Challenge. This contest, in concert with the Partnership for a Healthier America, celebrates the work of Let’s Move!, an effort headed by First Lady Michelle Obama to reduce the rates of childhood obesity in the United States through a multi-layered plan which includes access to healthy school lunches. It was up to chefs Anne and Jose to work within the confines of a limited budget and dietary restrictions to turn out deliciously wholesome dishes that were not only nutritionally sound but also appealing to kids and their perhaps picky palates.

Proud of the way the Challenge “shines a light on the school lunch program … in a fun and creative way,” Anne told us that the event “puts the task to me as a chef to say, ‘Alright, show us your creativity and what you can do with these nutritional guidelines to feed the kids in 30 minutes. Make it delicious, make it fast and make it fun.’”

Anne’s nutritious staples that won’t break the bank

Blogger Spotlight: Jessica Goldman, aka Sodium Girl

by in Blogger Spotlight, March 8, 2013
For Jessica Goldman, an adjustment to a sodium-free lifestyle came after kidney failure. Diagnosed with Lupus and working toward a full recovery, Jessica dropped the shaker for a new salt-free lifestyle. Thereafter, her kidneys regenerated, she stuck with the diet and she’s never felt better. Her blog, Sodium Girl, and her fresh-off-the-press book, Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, document her favorite salt-free recipes and cooking adventures.

Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?

Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.

From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.

Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.

How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?

I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.

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Order This, Not That: Five Guys

by in Dining Out, March 7, 2013

5 Guys Burger
This chain has been popping up all everywhere — there are over 1,000 locations nationwide. Find out what you should order when you stop by this booming burger and fry joint.

ORDER: Simple and “Little”

It’s tough to navigate this predominately high-calorie and high-sodium menu if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but it is possible.

If you’re itching for the Five Guys famous burger, the Bunless Little Hamburger is your best bet with 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 50 milligrams of sodium. Ask for veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, jalapeno, lettuce and tomatoes for between 3 to 10 calories each per serving.

If you’re more of a hot dog fan, the Bunless Hot Dog weighs in at 285 calories, 26 grams of fat and 800 milligrams sodium. Again, add veggies to add bulk to your meal with minimal calories.

Looking for a meatless dish? The Veggie Sandwich has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, and 1040 mg sodium.

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Cooking With Alcohol

by in Healthy Recipes, March 6, 2013

cooking with wine
Forget about getting tipsy – that’s not the point here. Cooking with a little liquor can be a healthy and tasty way to add a splash of depth, flavor and excitement to your recipes.

Flavor Boost
Whether it’s beer, sake, rum or Cabernet, using alcoholic beverages in cooking can act as a flavor enhancer. It can also be used to tenderize meat in marinades or concentrate flavor when simmered down into sauces.

What’s even more fun about cooking with alcohol is how versatile it can be. Beer can make a moist bread or add killer flavor to a fish taco. Hard liquor like vodka or rum can jazz up pasta sauces or be the finishing touch in a glaze for grilled or roasted meats.

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Win This Cereal!

by in Giveaway, March 6, 2013

Great Grains Cereal

Start the day with a balanced breakfast: Protein and whole grains will keep you both full and focused. Free of artificial sweeteners, flavors or isolated fibers, Great Grains Protein Blends fit the bill. The Honey, Oats & Seeds flavor comes with a mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds and mulit-grain clusters, while Cinnamon Hazelnut has just a hint of sweetness.

You can buy your own Great Grains Protein Blends or enter in the comments for a chance to win some. Just let us know, in the comments, your favorite healthy breakfast. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, March 8 at 5 p.m. EST.

We’re giving away a two-pack of Great Grains Protein Blend to 15 lucky, 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 March 6 and 5 p.m. EST on March 8, 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: $8. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.

So tell us, what’s your favorite healthy breakfast?

14 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, March 5, 2013

slow-cooker soup
Relieve your dinnertime stress by making a slow-cooker meal. Toss the ingredients in this easy-to-use countertop appliance, press the button, and enjoy a delicious meal a few hours later. Eating healthier couldn’t be any simpler!

Soups
A great dinner can be as simple as a warming soup and salad. Pair one of these on these delicious soups with a homemade salad using whatever veggies are in your refrigerator.

Pork Dishes
Lean cuts of pork are brimming with energy-boosting B-vitamins—just one of the reasons pork made our top-5 list of energy-boosting foods.

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Talking to Matthew Wagner: Creator of the Perfectly-Portioned Office Treat

by in Food News, March 5, 2013

candy machines
When I head to the Food Network offices for a meeting, I always pass by the cutest vending machines that dispense a handful of treats for a quarter (or two). Little did I know that the creator of these perfectly-portioned snacks, Matthew Wagner, lives down the street from me—and that I was friends with his charming wife! Over dinner one night I got the inside scoop on how Wagner Vending came to be. This inspirational story is one I had to share.

Q: The idea of Wagner Vending is to provide small portions of snack foods (like chocolate-covered almonds) without going overboard. How did you come up with the idea to create the company?

I’ve always been into fitness and staying in shape. Ever since I saw my older cousin lifting weights, I became hooked. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to strive for a strong, powerful physique, but I’ve also always had a real sweet tooth. By the age of 26, I lived in New York City and was working as a broker for a large commercial real estate company. The compensation was pure commission and the job was high stress. I was full of energy and drive but I wasn’t happy with the direction of my career. My office had one of those large vending machines which I  visited daily after lunch. One day, I bought a bag of M&Ms and as I sat there enjoying my snack I began to contemplate how I could get out of this stressful job — what else I could do? Before I knew it, I devoured the bag of M&Ms and calculated an additional ½ hour of cardio to burn those extra calories. I wished I only ate half the bag or a healthier snack instead. But it’s impossible just to eat ½ the bag once you start. I needed portion control!

And that’s the moment when the idea of my business came to me.  My vision was the old-time gum ball machines that were in front of the supermarket—for a coin you’d receive a handful of candy. I wanted to purchase attractive machines and fill them with delicious gourmet and healthy upscale snacks (like dark chocolate almonds and trail mix) and place them in office pantries so people could enjoy a portioned-controlled, healthy treat. So I took a risk, scraped some money together and purchased 6 machines.

The first machines were placed in some of the offices where I’d made real estate deals. I’d swing by the offices daily hoping the machines would empty. In the meantime, I was still working at the real estate firm and would carry in a large suitcase with all of the candy to fill my new venture. I would tell co-workers who inquired that I was carrying workout clothes and my own weights. After two weeks of doing this, I returned to the machines to find them empty. Boy was I thrilled! Finally the day arrived when I said goodbye to commercial real estate and focused on my own vending company, Wagner Vending.

When the company began in 1996, I canvased the entire Empire State Building from the top floor to the bottom to secure accounts. Now in 2013, I have 1,500 machines in offices within New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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Taco Salad Bowls

by in Robin's Healthy Take, March 4, 2013

taco salad
Can you believe a chicken taco salad, in a crispy tortilla bowl, can have up to 900 calories, 45 grams of fat and 1,870 mg of sodium? Didn’t I say salad? That’s the equivalent of THREE 5-ounce cheeseburgers. Thankfully, it’s super-easy to make your own taco salad bowls at home — without deep frying them in oil– using a muffin pan. And you can add lots of flavor too – I like to use the sundried tomato and garden herb-flavored tortillas for my tortilla bowls, but you can use any variety of flour tortilla, including multi-grain and low carb. Read more