Tips for Homemade Dressings

by in Uncategorized, August 12, 2013

grilled chicken salad with gazpacho dressing

It’s easy to make salad dressings that are full of flavor, not calories. Here are some tricks for homemade versions.

1. Add citrus juice, citrus zest and fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, oregano, or thyme) for a burst of flavor and color.

2. Replace all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil in a recipe with reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

3. Use a blender: The ingredients come together faster and easier. (Try Food Network Magazine’s Grilled Chicken Salad with Gazpacho Dressing, above.)

4. For variety, use cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.

5. Add chopped shallots for nuance that’s more subtle than garlic or onion.

6. Bind ingredients together with 1 to 2 tablespoons honey mustard, Dijon mustard or grainy mustard.

7. Use reduced-fat sour cream for creamier dressings, as in this blue-cheese version from Food Network Magazine.

Eggs: Myths vs. Facts

by in Healthy Tips, August 12, 2013

eggs

There are so many misconceptions swirling around eggs. I hear egg chatter in crowded elevators or at dinner parties—folks so proud about tossing that golden yolk. The next time you find yourself in the midst of an egg conversation, pipe in with these egg-cellent facts.

Myth: Always toss the yolks (it’s egg white omelets or nothing!).
Fact: To get the scoop on this longtime myth, I spoke with dietitian Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and consultant for Eggland’s Best. Ward says, “It is the fat and cholesterol that scares people most about egg yolks, but I think most folks would be surprised to learn that most of the fat in eggs is unsaturated, or the heart-healthy kind. In addition, eggs are surprisingly low in saturated fat. As you know, saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels with more force than does cholesterol.”

In addition, “egg yolks have nearly half the protein of an entire egg, plus all the vitamins and minerals and omega 3s, ” Ward says. “Eggs pack in good nutrition for about 70 calories each.”

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10+ Ways to Cook with Sesame Seeds

by in Uncategorized, August 11, 2013

sesame rice

Although small, sesame seeds are packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, calcium, antioxidants and dietary fiber. The primary fats in the seeds are monounsaturated fatty acids called oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

The seeds — which are available in a range of colors, including white, black, red and yellow — are sources of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper. Did you know that ¼ cup of sesame seeds has more calcium (350mg) than an 8-ounce cup of milk (300mg)?

The nutrients in sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are pulverized, but eating them whole is by no means unhealthy.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate sesame seeds into your diet:

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Smarter Candy Picks?

by in Uncategorized, August 10, 2013

chocolates
Call me crazy, but I start thinking about Halloween in August. Not the costumes, the candy. I’m a self-professed candy junkie, and it turns out, I’m not alone. The good news is, some candy choices are a little better than others.

Chocolate
For chocolate lovers, the darker the better (and the higher the percentage of cacao, the better). Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Add a few nuts, and you get an extra boost of protein; a few raisins, and you ramp up fiber and antioxidants. Add a little mint, and you have a refreshing treat with little fat. When choosing milk-chocolate varieties, opt for fillings that are light and airy over those that are thick and dense.

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9 Surprising Smoothie Add-Ins

by in Healthy Recipes, August 9, 2013

green smoothies

Beyond the usual fruits, juices or milk, a variety of ingredients can be blended into a smoothie. At breakfast, I try and surprise my kids with new smoothie flavors and play the “guess what’s in it” game. We end up having fun each time.

Here are nine additions worth giving a try.

#1: Oats
Made without using a blender, this smoothie combines cooked old-fashioned oats with milk, sugar and vanilla extract. It’s one technique you can use when adding oatmeal to your smoothie.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Avena Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

#2: Spinach
In Melissa D’Arabian’s Green Morning Smoothie, uncooked oats are blended with vanilla almond milk to rehydrate them. The peaches and bananas add sweetness, while nutrient-packed spinach adds the gorgeous green hue.

Recipe: Green Morning Smoothie (above)

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Health-Food Store Bulk Bins: Worth It?

by in Uncategorized, August 8, 2013

bulk ingredients
You can find practically any ingredient in bulk bins these days: grains, flours, pasta, beans, cereals, trail mixes, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, teas and coffees. Bulk bins at health-food stores and supermarkets can be a healthy eater’s best resource when shopping, whether buying ingredients for dinner or grabbing a nutritious snack. Here’s why these products makes sense.

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10 Healthy Peach Recipes (Including Peach Cobblers!)

by in Healthy Recipes, August 8, 2013

peach cobblers
It’s time for an all-out peach-fest! A medium peach makes a delish low-cal snack, with only 50 to 60 calories. Peaches also contain 2 to 3 grams of fiber per piece, plus lots of cell-protecting antioxidants.

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3 Easy Salsas: Green, Yellow and Red

by in Uncategorized, 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:

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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.

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