Category Archives: fast food

Kale Gratin and a Q&A

Hello new readers and thank you for your comments! Lots of you lately…thanks for stopping by! 😀

Confession: I don’t LOVE kale. I like the flavor a lot, but the texture is one that likes to tickle the inside of my mouth and tends to be a bit sharp going down, and kinda makes me gag (if I’m being truthful). But because kale is so incredibly healthy and affordable, I love to find creative ways to eat it that are both delicious and nutritious! And in the form of cheesy goodness, I figured Mr. Prevention would be a taker, too.

Right I was. Unfortunately, he turned my beautiful gratin into a chip ‘n’ dip delight. What am I going to do with him?

One cup of kale provides 1328% your daily value of Vitamin K and almost 200% the daily value for Vitamin A. It is also high in Vitamin C, fiber, and omega 3’s. Containing over 45 flavanoids, kale is an anti-cancer vegetable topping the charts, and here’s just one delicious way to enjoy it…two ways if “on a chip” counts. According to Mr. P, it most certainly does.

Kale Gratin from An Edible Mosaic

1 Tbsp canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6-7 oz kale, washed, stem removed, and chopped (about 8 cups chopped)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, plus more to grease the pan
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz Gruyère cheese, finely shredded
1 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375° F; grease a medium-sized gratin dish (I used a casserole dish) with butter.

In a large, deep-sided pan with a lid, heat oil over medium heat; once hot, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.  Add 1 cup water, turn heat up to between medium-high and high, and add kale.  Add 1/3 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper; cover pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain greens to remove water; put greens back into the pan they were cooked in.

Mix shredded cheeses together; set aside 1/2 1/3 cup to use as topping.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; whisk in flour and cook 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and a pinch freshly grated nutmeg; bring up to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer 1 minute.  Turn off heat and whisk in shredded cheeses, except reserved 1/2 1/3 cup for topping.  Taste cheese sauce and add salt and pepper as desired.

Pour cheese sauce onto greens and stir to combine.  Transfer greens and sauce to prepared gratin dish and spread out in an even layer; top with reserved 1/2 1/3 cup cheese.  Bake 20 minutes until cheese bubbles.  Preheat broiler and broil a couple minutes until cheese is browned in spots.

To Reheat: Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover gratin with aluminum foil and bake until warmed throughout and bubbling on the edges. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 203 calories; 12.2 g. fat; 18 mg. cholesterol; 200 mg. sodium; 13.8 g. carbohydrate; 3.5 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: Yum! This was über rich and delicious! It’s hard to believe there are 8 CUPS of kale in the recipe…it cooked down to nothing! Next time, I think I’ll add an additional 3-4 cups of kale just to increase the nutrition with all the cheese…there was plenty to go around! Another HUGE thumbs up for Faith’s recipes!


(Over-due) Q&A!

Renee of My Kitchen Adventures: My question is about vitamin D — how much do we really need and is it true most people are deficient? This is a hot topic right now!

Prevention RD: Hot topic, indeed! Increasing amounts of research are surfacing in support of vitamin D and its anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, among other things (MS, for one). The tolerable upper limit (UL) is 2,000 IU for people over the age of 14. Unless you are consuming a TON of cod liver oil, sockeye salmon, mackerel, or Vitamin D-fortified milk, one is not at great risk for too much vitamin D. However, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it can be consumed in excess and cause toxicity. My recommendation for milk drinkers (in any form) is to find a milk or milk substitute which is vitamin D-fortified. For most individuals consuming a diet that is not exceptionally high in vitamin D (foods noted above), a supplement of 200 IU’s (up to 400 IU’s for vegetarians and vegans) is safe and appropriate*. The Adequate Intake (AI) for vitamin D is 200 IU’s for those 19-50 years of age, 400 IU’s for those 51-70 years of age, and 600 IU’s for those 71+ years of age. While diagnosed deficiency is not common (think rickets), vitamin D plays an integral role in bone health and research is showing more and more that more vitamin D (up to the UL) can provide potential health benefits without associated risks. For what it’s worth, I take a 200 IU vitamin D supplement daily. *This is a broad, general recommendation appropriate for adults eating an “average” diet consisting of 200-ish IU’s of vitamin D.

Samantha of Bikini Birthday: I’m not sure if you read “Weighty Matters”, a Canadian based blog about obesity. In a recent post on Weighty Matters, Dr. Freedhoff questions whether the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s endorsement of certain fast food restaurant meals through their Health Check program is hypocritical or beneficial to the restaurant-going public. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the matter.

Prevention RD: Firstly, I love this question and you for introducing me to that amazing blog. If you have time, please check out the original blog post and the humorous re-do of the post altered to the tune of heroin used as a metaphor for pizza (oh my). Of course I want to agree that in a perfect world, people would cook from scratch, eat 5-9 fruits and vegetables a day, eat only whole grains, and buy 100% organic, low-fat, free-range, grass-fed proteins. In a perfect world. Would I personally, as a Registered Dietitian, endorse “healthier” pizza claiming to improve health outcomes “one pizza at a time”? Heck no. Not from Pizzaville, anyways. Do I think what the dietitian did is WRONG? No. You have to meet people where they’re at. As a dietitian, if you walk up to a fast food junky/Hamburger Helper-aholic and tell them that unless they’re going to eat PERFECTLY it’s not good enough, you’ve lost all credibility and rapport with that person. Eating healthfully is like exercise – you can always do more…but is more always better? Just because 30 minutes of walking isn’t ideal, it’s sure better than sitting on the couch eating, and it’s making strides in the right direction. While posting nutrition facts on menus has yielded less than ideal results, ignorance should not be bliss. While most options are not the BEST options while dining out, you can easily shave THOUSANDS of calories and HUNDREDS of grams of fat from a single meal by making healthier choices. Final thought: Where does the concept of balance in the diet come into play? Eating is not an all or nothing and the sooner we recognize the importance and feasibility of a balanced diet, everyone will be healthier and happier. P.S. I am now subscribed to that blog – what a great one! 🙂

Tiffany of We Are Wedes: Can you explain to me Kefir, what exactly it is, and what it is used for. So far I’ve used it in smoothies (it’s delicious!) but a friend of mine says I can use it as a buttermilk substitute in cakes and other yummy treats. Is this true? Or will I destroy my yummy edible Christmas confections?

Prevention RD: Mmm…Kefir! Kefir is cultured milk made from the introduction of kefir grains into raw milk. Kefir has added fiber (inulin) and is described as a cultured probiotic milk smoothie. Kefir is known for its probiotic benefits, containing 12 live and active strains of bacterium (most yogurts contain 2-3 strains) at 7-10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per serving. Pribiotics are found to keep the gut and intestinal tract healthy and functioning properly, as well as help prevent infection and illness. Generally speaking, Kefir can be substituted for buttermilk without issues. If the pH of the Kefir differs from that of buttermilk, the leavening in baked good will flop. Good question!

Question: Do you feel that it is hypocritical for a dietitian to endorse restaurant dining, albeit healthier options?

I promise you won’t hurt my feelings 🙂

Is it Friday yet?



Filed under blog topic request, butter, cancer, diet, dietitians, dining out, dinner, exercise, fast food, fiber, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, pizza, recipe, restaurant, vegan, vegetarian, vitamins

better late than never…

A late post today!

So you remember those YUMMY no-bake cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies I made for Mr. P’s company bake sale that I posted about yesterday? Well, he forgot them on the kitchen table and left without them in the morning. I grocery shopped, baked, cleaned, packed in baggies, and loaded in a shopping bag, placed right in front of his keys and wallet. Still, he walked out without them. Needless to say, my yesterday started on the wrong foot (really wrong foot). I drove the cookies to my office in the town we both work in, completely out of my way, and jetted off to a meeting an hour away. Good thing I can put the pedal to the metal…this girl was on time. Mr. P got his cookies and I got to my meeting on time. Crisis… averted.

After the meeting and before I started my late, long work day, my co-worker (Hi Christin!) took me to my new favorite place: an Amish market!

1.99 pounds of steel cut oats for $1.17!!!

Blackstrap molasses for $1.75!!!

1/2 pound of banana chips for $0.88!!!

Colby for Mr. P and Apple Cinnamon Cheddar to share 🙂

Fresh spices: cayenne, cumin, sage, cinnamon, rosemary, Spanish paprika, chili powder, and poppy seeds for $0.89 to $1.98 for ~2/3 cup or 1/5th pound 😀

Fresh churned peanut butter on-site for $1.54! Cheaper by the pound than Skippy Natural!

And I got all sorts of fresh pastas in fun shapes and some chocolate-covered goodies for Mr. P. His birthday is Saturday, after all. So fun! Thank you, Christin 😀

It’s fair to say my day improved from there…despite walking in the door at 8pm and making some bad choices for dinner.

Obviously by 8pm I was ready to eat my arm off and Mr. P had taken it upon himself to order pizza on my late night. So I came home, had 1 slice of pizza, 1 leftover Buffalo Chicken Bite, 2/3rds-ish cups of Mr. P’s leftover pasta from a dinner out, a few gummy butterflies (i.e. gummy bears), and a glass of wine. …All before I got my heels off my feet. Vegetables who? Fruit what? Whole grain why? Oy!

THIS is why I meal plan and love leftovers!!! And THIS is why it’s so important to not get to the point of HUNGRY because nothing good ever comes of it! …at least not for me. Obviously. But it was still probably better than stopping for fast food. Which, by the way, sounded really appealing during my 70 minute commute home…since I’m baring all here. 😉

Question: What was your last amazing food bargain?

I seriously feel like I hit the JACKPOT yesterday! 😀

Almost Friday!


Filed under budget shopping, dining out, dinner, fast food, fruits and vegetables, grocery store, herbs, hunger, marriage, self-control, stress, Uncategorized, wine, work

Q&A: ginseng, hidden sodium, and raw milk

Quick update: Home inspection did NOT go well…at all (you can’t judge a book…or a home…by its cover!). Back to square one. Oh the joys of buying a home…I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks tons for all of your support and well wishes on our big move. Despite the hurdles and big changes, I need to stay positive while we’re in transition!!

As for the job-hunt, I am trying to keep an open mind but I want to still keep my paws in diabetes…some how…some way. I am nearly 50% complete with my 1,000 diabetic education hours needed to sit for the exam and I am not giving up that easily on pursuing my CDE. Diabetes is my passion!

And on to a most excellent line-up of Q&A!

Jodie of Jodie Pilates: I would like to know your opinion on ginseng, specifically for energy. Are there any other supplements you can suggest for energy?

Prevention RD: Caffeine and ginseng are the two most natural stimulants that come to mind. I recently started taking ginseng for my blood glucose and have noticed no increase in energy*. However, ginseng is most commonly found in large doses in energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster and is most “famous” for its stimulant-effects. I feel both caffeine and ginseng can be a part of a healthy diet, but I think a good night’s sleep is the best energy boost of all! 😉 Note: If you do utilize ginseng or caffeine, do so earlier in the day to help avoid sleep disturbances.

*Ginseng is working beautifully in lowering my fasting blood glucose, however! My fasting blood sugars have gone from 95-103 mg/dl into a much preferred 83-90 mg/dl range. In less than a week, I am SO pleased with the results!

Liz in Dallas: My grandmother and my dad have both recently been put on low-salt diets. It is easy for them to deal with at home, since my grandmother and my mom cook all their own food and very rarely eat anything processed. The problem seems to be out at restaurants. Both of them eat out for lunch pretty much every day, and my grandmother also goes out to eat for dinner quite frequently. What should they be ordering to avoid sodium overload? Are there dishes that they should always avoid? What do you think are the most sneaky sources of sodium?

Prevention RD: Low-sodium “diets” are tough…really, really tough. Restaurants are notorious for using exorbitant amounts of salt. If it’s possible, your grandmother and dad could decrease the frequency of meals out, or dine at restaurants with published nutrition information (e.g. Chili’s, Applebees, Subway, etc.) so they are sure to make a salt-friendly meal selection. If meals out are a must, there is plenty to know, however! Anything breaded or fried is going to have more salt, so looking for key words on menus such as baked, broiled, steamed, and grilled can be helpful in reducing salt. Chips, fries, and other side dishes such as potato salad are also high in sodium, as are sauces, dressings, and other condiments. Because sodium is hidden in just about everything, the best thing to do at restaurants is to exercise portion control, especially since the portion sizes are generally rather large. When ordering food at a restaurant, they can ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side so they can control how much they consume. And it’s always an option to take home half their meal and have a small snack before and/or after dining out. Sharing meals is another great option. Best of luck to them! Great question 🙂

Lena of LMC in the World: I read an article in a recent Economist magazine about the trend of raw milk. It was saying there are some nutritional benefits which are eliminated in the pasteurization process and some people are selling/buying raw milk. Had you heard of this trend? It also said the FDA has not identified any nutritional benefits and there are still a number of laws to restrict the sale of raw milk because it can be dangerous. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Prevention RD: What a great question! This is a HOT trend right now, you betcha! Raw milk and dairy simply not been pasteurized, as you stated. Unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful and potentially fatal bacteria including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The National Dairy Council, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, endorse pasteurized milk and dairy. According to the National Dairy Council there is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any nutritional benefit to raw milk and dairy of that which has been pasteurized. In fact, pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, making is a more nutritionally desirable product over raw milk. And did you know that it is actually illegal to sell raw milk in some US states? Check out your local raw milk and dairy laws if you choose to consume raw dairy. While raw milk and dairy carries some risk of bacterial contamination, I think the larger issue is knowing where the products come from and the cleanliness of the site. I know there are many raw milk and dairy advocates out there, but I tend to side with the majority on this one. Would I try raw milk or dairy from a dairy I trusted? Probably. Is it recommended for the young, old, or uninsured? Probably not. 😉

I’ll leave you with a picture of my sleepy girl after her day at camp. She snored ALL night!

Question: What supplements do you take and why?

Happy half-way to Friday!


Filed under blog topic request, blood glucose, coffee, complimentary and alternative nutrition, condiments, diabetes, dietitians, dining out, enriched/fortified, farming, fast food, food safety, hypertension, minerals, raw food/rawism, restaurant, sleep, sodium, supplements, vitamins

The Drive -Thru Diet

If you haven’t been living under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve heard of Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet. Christine Dougherty lost 54 pounds on the “Drive-Thru Diet” –consuming Taco Bell Fresco menu items. I’ve received several inquires as to the safety and feasibility of this “diet” from patients, friends, and co-workers alike. Even my itty bitty friend in Cincinnati sent me a Facebook message last night suggesting the Drive-Thru Diet as a topic of blog discussion (thank you, Mar!) :). So, here we are!

What we don’t know are the details of Christine’s intake. How many times a day was she eating Taco Bell’s Fresco items? How many at a time? What was she consuming “sensibly” outside of the Fresco items? What we do know (supposedly), is that Christine “lost 54 pounds,” “reduced her intake by 500 calories a day,” and “consumed 1250 calories a day”.

Drive-Thru Diet Flaws:

1. Calorie consumption. Assuming Christine weighed approximately 180 pounds to start (a safe assumption with a 54-pound weight loss), a basal energy calculation would calculate Christine’s energy needs to be 1540-1689 calories a day. Assuming Christine performs “seated work with little movement and little or no leisure activity” her requirements would increase to 2156-2377 calories a day. Subtracting 500 calories a day to produce a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week (1 pound ~ 3,500 calories), Christine’s needs would equate to 1656-1877 calories a day, leading me to the belief that 1250 calories per day is inadequate for Christine. This information, again, is based off a starting weight of ~180 pounds, assumes no physical activity, and was calculated using the FAO/WHO BEE equation with an activity factor of 1.4, suggested by the Manual of Clinical Dietetics put out by the American Dietetic Association.

2. Sodium. The sodium content in a single Fresco item ranges from 600 milligrams to 1410 milligrams. A recommended intake for adults without chronic health conditions such as hypertension, suggests 2,300 milligrams a day.

3. Fiber. One item on the Fresco menu contains 11 grams of fiber (!), but the remaining options contain a mere 2-8 grams. Most of the Fresco menu items contain a meager 2-3 grams of fiber.

4. Vitamins and minerals. A variety of fruits and vegetables is required to intake adequate vitamins and minerals each day. Lettuce and tomatoes every day isn’t what I would call variety, you?

5. Feasibility. Is eating off the Taco Bell Fresco menu a time or two each day any way to live? Cheap and maybe convenient, sure, but don’t we all enjoy some variety in our diets? As much as I love both tacos and burritos, I need not eat one, or the other, or both EVERY day to lose OR maintain weight. PASS!

6. Gimmick. Some of the Fresco menu items are a nearly insignificant 50 calories less than their standard menu counterparts. If you replace the cheese on a Taco Bell taco with salsa*, you get a Taco Bell Fresco taco. SURPRISE! (*this is what they do)

7. Preying on the weak. If you go to the Drive-Thru Diet website, you can’t miss this statement, “Drive-Thru-Diet® is not a weight-loss program. For a healthier lifestyle, pay attention to total calorie and fat intake and regular exercise. Taco Bell’s Fresco Menu can help with calorie reductions of 20 to 100 per item compared to corresponding products on our regular menu. Not a low calorie food. For complete nutritional information please visit” Even Taco Bells knows what it takes to lose weight, and it’s not Taco Bell.

Words of wisdom: Bite it, write it. Eat less, move more. Limit preservatives and eat cleaner, less processed foods. Include variety with a diet high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Consume healthy fats such as those found in nuts, oils, and seeds.

When I first heard a commercial for the Drive-Thru Diet, I laughed….nearly uncontrollably. While I wish nothing more than for anyone and everyone to reach their health, nutrition, and fitness goals, I strongly discourage the Drive-Thru Diet as a means of reaching your goals. In opposition to the Drive-Thru site, I do not encourage anyone to make “Frescoluctions” (laaaaaame).

Questions: What do you think is the biggest flaw in the Drive-Thru Diet? Do you think the popularity of the Fresco menu will increase? And, I shudder to ask, but do you know anyone attempting to lose weight on Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet?


Filed under blog topic request, convenience foods, diet, dining out, fast food, fiber, fruits and vegetables, minerals, obesity epidemic, restaurant, sodium, vitamins, weight loss

It sure SMELLS like Christmas…

…and it isn’t pine or mistletoe! But rather…….COOKIES!!!
Today I made SEVEN varieties of sweets — some healthy, some not so healthy, but all are delicious! 214 cookies + 16 brownies later I am pooped and my house smells like the December issue of Taste of Homes looks.
Try to keep up for some holiday treat delights…

Hint of Mint Munchies
compliments of Cassie at A Pinch of This and A Dash of That
Makes 3 dozen 2-inch cookies

1 bag Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie Mix
3/4 C Andes Creme de Menthe chips

1)Preheat oven to 375 F
2)Mix together cookie mix and ingredients listed on package. Once well mixed, add in the 3/4 cup of creme de menthe.
3)Drop cookie dough by rounded Tbsp onto a ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil/parchment paper.
4)Bake each batch for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Peppermint Oatmeal Crunchies
compliments of Cassie at A Pinch of This and A Dash of That
Makes 3 dozen 2-inch cookies

1 bag Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix+ingredients listed on mix
3/4 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch chips

1)Preheat oven to 375 F
2)Mix together cookie mix and ingredients listed on package. Once well mixed, add in the 3/4 cup of peppermint chips.
3)Drop cookie dough by rounded Tbsp onto a ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil/parchment paper.
4)Bake each batch for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Christmas Chocolate Cheers
compliments of Cassie at A Pinch of This and A Dash of That
Note: I could NOT (for the life of me) find Holiday Kissables, so I settled for Holiday M&M’s. Also, I used Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix instead of the chocolate mix the recipe called for*.
1 bag Betty Crocker Peanut Butter cookie mix*
1/3 c. (canola) oil
2 eggs
1 tub of chocolate frosting
1 bag of Hershey’s Christmas Kissables

1)Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
2) Bake at 375°F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute, then press your thumb into the center of each cookie. After that remove from cookie sheets.
3)Spoon some frosting into a pastry bag or a zip loc and snip the end. Pipe frosting into the indent of the cookie and top with 3 Kissables!!

A trick with the Christmas Chocolate Cheers is to use a Ziplock as a frosting gun…

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)

1 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1  cup  regular oats
3/4  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
3/4  cup  granulated sugar
1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
1/3  cup  butter, softened
1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
1  large egg
1/4  cup  chopped pecans, toasted
1/4  cup  semisweet chocolate minichips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans and minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Calories: 81 (33% from fat); Fat: 3g (sat 1.4g,mono 1g,poly 0.3g) ; Protein: 1.1g; Carbohydrate: 12.9g; Fiber: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 76mg; Calcium: 12mg
Source: Julianna Grimes and Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2007

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies
I colored the cheesecake batter with red food coloring — about 3 drops for a festive flare!
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 bar)
Cheesecake batter:
1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/3  cup  granulated sugar
1/4  teaspoon  peppermint extract
1  large egg
1  large egg white
1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour

Brownie batter:
4.5  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 1/2  cups  packed brown sugar
1/4  cup  canola oil
1/4  cup  buttermilk
2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
2  large egg whites
1  large egg
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cheesecake batter, place cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and peppermint extract; beat well. Add 1 egg and 1 egg white; beat well. Add 1 tablespoon flour; beat mixture just until blended.
3. To prepare brownie batter, weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces (about 1 cup) flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 4.5 ounces flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, 2 egg whites, and 1 egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until blended.
4. Reserve 1/2 cup of brownie batter. Pour remaining batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Carefully pour cheesecake batter over top; spread evenly to edges. Dot cheesecake batter with reserved brownie batter. Swirl top two layers of batters together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 26 minutes or until top is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Calories: 213 (32% from fat); Fat: 7.5g (sat 2.6g,mono 2.3g,poly 1.1g); Protein: 4.4g; Carbohydrate: 32.3; gFiber: 0.7g; Cholesterol: 37mg; Sodium: 169mg; Calcium: 32mg
Source: Kathy Farrell-Kingsley, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2008
Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 c butter, softened
2/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ c old fashioned oats
1 ½ c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 (6 oz) package dried cranberries
2/3 c white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.

Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies.
Source: Weight Watchers (online forum)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie)
1  cup  granulated sugar
1  cup  packed brown sugar
1/2  cup  creamy peanut butter
1/4  cup  water
1/4  cup  canola oil
2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
2  large egg whites
1  large egg
12  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 2 2/3 cups)
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
2/3  cup  semisweet chocolate minichips

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Calories: 128 (32% from fat); Fat: 4.5g (sat 1.1g,mono 2.2g,poly 1g); Protein: 2.3g; Carbohydrate: 20.5g; Fiber: 0.6g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 106mg; Calcium: 16mg
Source: Kathy Farrell-Kingsley, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2008

And only 3 hours later…my friends are the lucky recipients of THESE:
Tins filled with…
cookies! Obvi..

I taste tested all of the cookies (and brownies) and they are ALL really good!
If I had to choose a favorite it would have to be the Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I must fess up — my morning started off on a bad note…forgetting to eat breakfast before I set out for a day of power shopping. Around 10 I gave in to a bad, bad guilty pleasure: McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffin. 450 calories and 85% of my daily value of saturated fat later…I completed my shopping spree successfully. In my defense, I get fast food a handful of time in a calendar year, and typically it is because of instances like this morning.
Question: How often do you eat fast food? What is your “favorite” fast food restaurant (if you had to choose one)?

Husby and I are off to my work Christmas party! Hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend!
Tomorrow…the LD on this KOMBACHA everyone in blogland is yappin’ about!!

1 Comment

Filed under butter, dessert, fast food, friends, grocery store, holiday, recipe, work

Hm, is that -really- what I ordered?

When you order this….

…are you disappointed when you get this…?

Are YOU disappointed when your indulgence is sub-par in appearance when compared to your envisioned order?

I’m tellin’ ya…advertisement is moooooney in the literal and urban sense of the term. 

The objective: sell, sell, sell.
The result: Chew, swallow, repeat. *Head scratch and guilty eyes*

I have had patients tell me that they’ve been sitting at home, in for the night, see a commercial advertising xyz fast food item come across the TV screen, and before they know it…they’re on their way to go get said xyz fast food item! Voila. Advertisement is MONEY, as in the literal and urban sense of the term.

Growing up, I babysat for a mother who worked in food photography, or “food modeling,” as she called it. Just as models aren’t naturally primped and primed…nor are burgers or burritos, PEOPLE! And let’s just say, this mom was in one heck of a well-paid position and could readily point out the commercials featuring her “models”. As I recall, I was paid $8 an hour — big bucks way back when, ya know. She hit the jackpot in her career, especially with the continual economic return fast food brings to the world, wouldn’t you say?

I am a believer in knowledge being power. So maybe, just maybe, with the following knowledge, you can reach deep for the power to just say…NO! ‘Cause as you’ll see, that burger you see isn’t even edible

How to photograph a (nearly) irresistible burger:
· When shooting a bun with sesame seeds, carefully arrange them with glue and tweezers.
· Use waterproof spray on the surface so it won’t get soggy.
· Cook just the outside of the meat and leave the center raw to keep it plump and moist.
· Paint the burger with oil and brown coloring.
· To make grill marks, brand the meat with a hot metal skewer.
· Use paper towels to make a diaper for the meat so no juices leak on the bun.
· Find an attractive lettuce leaf with no brown spots.
· Use only center slices of the best tomato.
· Spray the tomato with a mist of water and glycerin to keep it looking fresh.

And on a completely unrelated note…

A new study out states that stressful times can produce favorable change, negating the “comfort food” theory. Increasing levels of stress and change actually caused people to choose unfamiliar products. It’s a really interesting study, read more here.

Yesterday’s intake ended up like so:

1 1/2 cups Cheerios (2 carbs)
1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
QT fat-free cappuccino/coffee (1 carb)
     Total: 4 carbs

Lean Cuisine Shrimp Stir Fry (2 carbs)
small apple (1 carb)
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light (0 carbs)
1 cup Waldorf Salad (1 carb)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 pear (1 carb)
1 Vita Brownie (1 carb)
     Total: 2 carbs

2 cups tossed greens (0 carbs)
1 Tbsp Asian Sesame Ginger Dressing (0 carbs)
1 cup whole wheat rotini (3 carbs)
3 ounce chicken breast (0 carbs)
3/4 cup organic marinara sauce (1 carb)
1 ounce mozzarella cheese (0 carbs)
     Total: 4 carbs

1 cup skim milk (1 carb)
2 graham cracker squares (1 carb)
     Total: 2 carbs 
Happy weekend to all and to all a Happy Friday night! Go Illini!
P.S. Thanks for the blog idea, Erin…it was fun!

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Filed under blog topic request, diabetes, diet, fast food, stress

Hold the acrylamide, pease!

Here’s just one more reason America’s vegetable of choice (in the form of chips or fries) needs a closer look.

In addition to the excessive fat and sodium content of potato chips and french fries, a chemical called arcylamide is also found — a possible cancer-causing agent. Because acrylamide is found in carbohydrate foods which are cooked at high temperatures, acrylamide is also found in foods such as cereals, baby foods, breads, and crackers [1].

In lab animals, acrylamide is shown to cause tumors and neurological problems. Consumer’s in the US are not seemingly phased by the recent discovery of the possible carcinogenic effects of acrylamide. Many

American’s are yet to hear about acrylamide despite its presence in nearly 40% of foods. Federal governing bodies in the US, Canada, and Europe are stepping up efforts to reduce the levels of acrylamide in foods [1].

Acrylamide forms when sugars and asparagine (an amino acid) are heated together at temperatures more than 248 degrees Fahrenheit. This effect, which is partly a “Maillard reaction,” enhances a food’s color, texture, aroma, and flavor [1].

What to do about it? Continue eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits, and vegetables, says the Food and Drug Administration. Joe Schwarcz points out that there is acrylamide in certain foods just like there are aflatoxins in peanuts, ethanol in wine, urethane in sherry, styrene in cinnamon, and hetreocyclic aromatic amines in beef bouillon [1].

It’s also important to know that acrylamide levels vary greatly between identical products such as Krispy Kreme donuts and McDonald’s french fries.

Just like anything and everything else, watch it. No food should be over-consumed in the diet — balance is always the goal.

[1]. Deardorff, Julie. Acrylamide: Why french fries shouldn’t be overheated. Chicago Tribune. September 18, 2009.

French Fries on Foodista


Filed under amino acids, cancer, carbohydrates, fast food, fried food, Julie Deardorff, obesity epidemic, saturated fat, sodium