Category Archives: pizza

Beer Cheese Soup (Lightened Up)

Thanks for the accountability, folks. I pounded out a quick 5K before pouring a glass of Pinot Grigio last night. It was just one of those weeks, and the only thing getting me through Thursday and Friday was the thought of a happy hour drink come Friday. It’s the little things in life.

Mr. Prevention and I did a whole lot of NOTHING last night other than catching up with the DVR, and it was glorious. We were planning to go out to eat, but Mr. P has had some really early hours this week (hello, 4:30am…ew), and staying it just seemed like the right things to do 🙂 Of course, Mr. Prevention insisted on leftover pizza for dinner and I would have nothing of it. I had my mind set on bigger, better, and cheesier things. 😉

I had never heard of Beer Cheese Soup until a week ago. And since then, it’s all I’ve wanted. Beer? Please. Always. Cheese? Please. Always. I know I’m not alone here. Well, I wanted the soup, not the calories and fat. So, I remedied that and the result was glooorious.

I don’t know about you, but when my love for nutrition and great-tasting food can come together, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Of course this soup isn’t the most nutritious thing ever, but it sure as heck is way lower in calories and fat than the original version or a dinner out, so there! I justify my guiltless indulgence in this most decadent soup!

Beer Cheese Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

4 Tbsp butter Smart Balance Light
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled & chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used Great Lakes Pale Ale)
2 cups 2% milk
12 oz 75% reduced-fat Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz American Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tsp cornstarch
Table salt & ground black pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and carrots until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Toss shredded cheeses and cornstarch in large bowl until well combined. Puree soup in blender in 2 batches until completely smooth, return to saucepan, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cheese mixture, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information: 344 calories; 16 g. fat; 43 mg. cholesteorl; 652 mg. sodium; 19.3 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber; 6.2 g. sugar; 28.2 g. protein

Result: Oh la la, this is AMAZING! 75% reduced fat, what? Doesn’t matter. Delicious, and way less guilt involved. Enjoy!

Question: What’s one word you always spell wrong?

I have trouble with “occasion” (don’t know why..) and “Hanukkah” — I always spell that wrong.

Happy weekend! Gift wrapping, hair cut, workout, Illinois basketball, and date night are on my calendar! 😀

Be well,

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Filed under beer, dining out, dinner, exercise, garlic, pizza, recipe, reduced-calorie, saturated fat, vegetarian, wine, work

Winter Extremes & Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies

TGIF!! 😀

Smart cookies! By legal definition, chocolate must contain 35% cocoa solids to be considered chocolate!

I am in this all-or-nothing phase with exercise lately, and it’s not good. After my killer workout on Tuesday, I took Wednesday off…for no good reason. And last night I worked out — 2 mile run + 25 minutes on the elliptical. And to break the cycle, I commit to workout today after work. PROMISE. There, done…no weaseling your way out now, self!

And as Lily and I were walking last night, I realized she is all-or-nothing, too. She is a chick of extremes.

Kissies: Here’s 576 slobbery ones! Or, I’m soooo not in the mood…buzz off, mom.
Weather: 100° and sunny –> sunbathing…9° –> long walk, please!
Vet bills: Always 3 digits, often times 4.
Alertness: Snoring like a grizzly bear, or awake and tearing through the house like a tornado.
Appetite: Down in 1, or on a hunger strike.

Crazy gal. Unfortunately for me, she’s all about the long walks with this frigid winter wonderland. She expects it. I walk in after work, and she meets me at the back door shaking her whole body in excitement. Off we went. Wool coat, scarf, mittens, and boots weren’t enough to keep my feet dry, thighs from getting the early stages of frost bite, and nose from running (thank you, neighbors who shovel!). She loved it, my little snow bunny. I, on the other hand, wanted to cry and crawl into bed with a hot mug of tea the second we walked in the door. Putting on shorts and hopping on the treadmill was literally the last thing I wanted to do...but I did.

After that ordeal, Mr. Prevention walked in the door and informed me he was ordering pizza for dinner. He then asked if I was planning to make something. Thoughtful, huh? The man and his pizza. I was planning Savory Leek Bread Pudding and leftover Spicy Black Bean Soup, but making dinner for 1 is just not worth it. Leftover Spicy Black Bean Soup it was. Mmmm 🙂

So, no savory delicious bread pudding recipe to share, but I’m not done with Christmas cookie recipes yet! 😉

Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies seen on My Kitchen Adventures, adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

For Butter Cookie Dough:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Zest of one lemon
3/4 cup of granulated sugar, which has been pulsed in the food processor for about 20 seconds
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter ( 2 sticks ), cut into 16 1/2 inch pieces at cool room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. (1 oz) light cream cheese, at room temperature

For Frosting:
1 Tbsp. (1/2 oz) light cream cheese, at room temperature
approx. 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor until finely chopped

Directions:

For the cookies:   Preheat oven to 375° F.  In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle beater, mix flour, zest, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined.  With mixer running on low, drop in the butter one piece at a time slowly; and continue to mix until the mixtures looks slightly wet and crumbly. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just comes together. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

For the frosting:  In the same bowl you mixed the cookies in, with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and the lemon juice on low until incorporated.  Add in the confectioners sugar and mix on low until a nice thick glaze like frosting appears.

Dip tops of cookies into frosting, or use a knife to spread the top, then dip the cookies into the coconut.  Allow the cookies to sit and allow the frosting to set.  About 20 minutes. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 107 calories; 5.3 g. fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 28 mg. sodium; 14.2 g. carbohydrate; 0.2 g. fiber; 8.7 g. sugar; 1 g. protein

Result: These were really good! I don’t know that they scream “Christmas Coookie!” to me, but they’re a great change of pace and a great option for those that don’t (GASP!) like chocolate. The lemon flavor is excellent and the dough is unreal…it’s like silk! Gorgeous dough! Be careful with the cook time, however. The cookies will not look done, but they will quickly burn on the bottom, so beware! You were warned 🙂 Enjoy!

Question: What was one thing on your holiday wish list?

I asked for a lot of kitchen stuff: a dutch oven, a donut pan, a cast iron skillet, pastry brushes, and silicon spatulas. I also asked for an elliptical (which I got! :-D) and books by Chelsea Handler. I was very specific with Santa this year, and that’s a first! 😉 Really, it’s a first!

TGIF,

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Filed under dessert, dinner, dog, exercise, holiday, pets, physical activity, pizza, recipe, running

Candy Cane Biscotti

So my plan for last night was leftovers for dinner and pumpkin souffle for a special dessert — my LAST pumpkin recipe of the season...I think. No promises. I’ll never tire of pumpkin.

But then I got home, pounded out a quick 4-mile run while catching up with my DVR, and then decided that putting up the Christmas tree would be my evening activity. Check!

Our tree has orange and blue ball ornaments, and little basketballs. Not very classic, but very “us”. My Cubs ornaments are going on as soon as Mr. Prevention turns his back. 😉 (He’s a Cardinals fan – bleck!) Note to self: get a skirt for the tree!

I absolutely love meaningful ornaments, though. My mom got us the cutest ornament last year for our first Christmas together:

It’s our wedding party 🙂 You even got to customize the hair color, it’s darling!!

After all the holiday decorating, pumpkin just wasn’t meant to be. I changed my plans and made Candy Cane Biscotti. At least I still had leftovers for dinner. Mr. Prevention wasn’t interested in leftovers and opted to order Hungry Howie’s Pizza (it’s as terrible as it sounds, too).

Big. Fat. Eye. Roll. What am I going to do with him!?

I called my parents to chat while I was dipping my biscotti in the white chocolate. I should’ve known better than to call before I had my parchment paper in place…mama hates when I multi-task and make a ruckus in the background! But she was super impressed that I had tackled biscotti and like myself, was under the impression that they were difficult to make. Nope, nope, nope…very easy! 😀

…But you should let others be impressed by your biscotti skills. I know I plan to…except you guys, you’re in on my secret …assuming you haven’t just skipped to the pictures and recipe, that is 😉

Candy Cane Biscotti from Loves to Eat, originally from Culinary in the Country

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp finely crushed peppermint candy canes (about 8 canes)
14 ounces fine quality white chocolate, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined – stir in crushed candy.

Evenly divide dough into 4 pieces on a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into 9″ x 1 1/2″ round log. Place logs 3 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are cracked and ends just start to turn light brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325° F. Cool logs 10 minutes on cookie sheet.

Cut each log diagonally into 1/2″ slices with sharp serrated knife (discard ends, if you want). Arrange pieces standing up back onto the baking sheet.
Bake until cookies are light golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 12 to 15 minutes. The centers may still be a little soft, but will firm up as they cool. Place onto cool rack and cool completely.

Dip half of each biscotti into melted chocolate – shake off excess. Immediately sprinkle with additional crushed candy canes and set on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet until the chocolate has set. Yield: 42 biscotti.

Nutrition Information (per biscotti): 113 calories; 5.1 g. fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 48 mg. sodium; 16 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber

Result: These are delicious and the quintessential Christmas coffee treat! And like I told my mom, they really are simple…nothing to fear about biscotti-making! My co-workers were just chatting about biscotti and I am sure they will be very happy to enjoy these 🙂 Mr. P gives a big thumbs up, too!

I have THREE cookie exchanges this year and I am making Christmas cookies to take back to Chicago and Champaign. I am excited to be a baking QUEEN! And I have just the place to store all my delights: in Christmas tins on the top shelf in our garage! Having cookies hanging around til Christmas is just not an option!! Make a plan before one turns into TWELVE!! It’s so easy to do with all the decadent delights!

Question: What are you up to this weekend? Any baking plans? Have you made biscotti before?

TGIF!

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Filed under coffee, dessert, holiday, pizza, recipe, work

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

Directions:

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!

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(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?

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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

Weight Watchers catches on…

Bbrrrrrrrrrr!!! Mid Ohio has gotten down right cold!! Hope it’s toastier where ever you are! Check out what the mornings bring:

Told you so…COLD!!! I guess being a Southerner for 18 months did turn me into a wimp!! 😉

Before I gush about an awesome fall recipe I tried, read about changes coming to Weight Watchers.

Weight Watchers in the UK has launched a new program that includes “ProPoints” that will take into account protein, carbohydrate, fiber, and fat. According to the Grocer, a British news outlet, calorie-counting as previously endorsed by Weight Watchers has since been proven “inacurate” and “outdated”. The new Weight Watchers program in the UK also gives participants “real living” points that can be used on occasional treats and alcohol. No details on the new US Weight Watchers program are available as of yet.

While these changes in the UK program are vague, they seem to be working in the right direction. In recent years, types of calories are being examined more closely. In other words, all calories are not made equal. In theory, all calories are made equal — a calorie represents one unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperatiure of one kilogram of water by one degree — but we all know that calories “spent” on empty calories like alcohol and simple sugars are not ones well spent as they provide no nutritive value. While Weight Watchers has made strides to encourage members to utilize their points appropriately, that has not deterred some individuals from the Cheeto and turkey hot dog meal plan. I would know, because that was me…10 years ago. One can quickly learn that you can eat what you want, as long as your points are within your target range, and lose weight. However, Weight Watchers is wisening up to see that while people are losing weight, they are not doing so appropriately.

The new program sounds more sound in that is will take into account ALL macronutrients — the components that make up calories in foods: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. I would venture to guess that the new program will also set goals for macronutrient composition in the diet (i.e. a balance between carbohydrate, fat, and protein). We shall see what Weight Watchers has up their sleeves, but I do see some changes in the program for the better. But, of course, a visit to your friendly neighborhood dietitian is always best!

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And on to the eats! 😀

I saw this recipe on Erin’s blog and I knew I had to try it. Butternut squash and cannellini beans…what a perfect fall dish!

Butternut Squash Cassoulet with Bacon and Roasted Garlic adapted from Cooking Light and The Healthy Apron

1 whole garlic bulb (about 9 cloves), chopped
2 oz. (4 slices) turkey bacon, chopped
2 large onions, vertically sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine (I used red because it was open, worked great!)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 cans cannellini or great northern beans
1 bay leaf
2 slices Italian or sourdough bread
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Sauté bacon in large skillet or Dutch oven ~5 minutes or until crispy. Set aside.

While bacon cook, process bread pieces until course crumbs, add Parmesan, and 1/2 tsp olive oil. Set aside.

Drain fat from skillet and clean or use a separate skillet. Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil ~5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, sauté another 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons wine, cook ~15 more minutes or until onions are softened and brown. Keep stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.

Preheat oven to 375˚ F.

Mix your onion mixture, garlic pulp, bacon, squash, broth, spices, and beans, in a large bowl and stir well. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with homemade breadcrumbs.

Cover and bake at 375˚ F for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Remove cover the last 15 minutes of baking to brown the topping). Discard bay leaf and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 215 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 444 mg. sodium; 33 g. carbohydrate; 7.9 g. fiber; 9.9 g. protein

Result: I am BLOWN AWAY at how flavorful and delicious this cassoulet was. I knew it would be good, but it far surpassed my expectations. I ate this as a meal, but I think I would add goat cheese for a main course next time. I think that creamy richness would pair perfectly with the sweet, soft squash and the hearty beans. If you don’t have time to make homemade breadcrumbs, use Panko or just regular breadcrumbs…either would work just fine and be a time-saver! I am glad I halved the amount of beans…4 cans just seemed like a lot! I love beans, but I much prefer the squash to be the dish’s super star! The dish is a nice balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat and is loaded with fiber while being low in calories. A winner all around! Enjoy!

Trivia question answer: the #1 most requested pizza topping in the U.S. is PEPPERONI! Most of you guessed it, kudos! I honestly thought it was sausage and no one else guessed that, oops! 🙂

Thanks for your great Q&A questions! If there are any others, send them over to me PreventionRD@gmail.com! I will post a Q&A next week, and keep a look out for Mr. Prevention’s cameo appearance post next week, too! 😉

Question: What do you think about the changes Weight Watchers is making to their program? Are there any other changes you would like to see?

I would love to see sodium and saturated/trans fat included in the Weight Watchers program.

I am off to an all-day meeting with renal dietitians from all over Ohio! Should be a great day packed with lots to learn!!

Happy day-before-Friday!


20 Comments

Filed under blog topic request, carbohydrates, Cooking Light, dialysis & kidney disease, diet, dietitians, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, hydrogenation, obesity epidemic, pizza, protein, recipe, saturated fat, sodium, trans fat, vegetarian, weight loss, work

herbs & spices for flavor and health

‘Morning!

I love this time of year, (even if Ohio may be seeing its first snow fall towards the end of this week…ugh) NCAA basketball and football seasons overlap. Basketball games during the week and football on the weekends makes me a happy camper! 😀 Anyone else??

I found an interesting article yesterday on herbs and spices and I wanted to share a few tidbits. The article was written by a Registered Dietitian and discussed dried vs. fresh herbs, and the overall health benefits of herbs and spices.

First things first, herbs and spices are essential in the health-conscious kitchen. Herbs and spices come with powerful flavor and with negligible calories, fat, or sodium. Rather than adding salt, the use of herbs and spices can flavor cooking and baking for a most delicious result. The article notes that herbs and spices should be used within 6 months for the most nutritional benefit. Dried herbs and spices lose nutritional value if they lose color or scent, so it’s best to only buy what you need. Store your herbs and spices in a cool, dark, dry place to keep them fresher longer. And remember, dried herbs can always be substituted for fresh in a 1-to-3 ratio.

The Stars:

Rosemary: antioxidant, anti-cancer and helps cholesterol
Cinnamon: the most potent anti-oxidant spice, can reduce blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, can reduce symptoms of nausea and stomach ulcers
Thyme: antioxidant, anti-bacterial, contains omega 3’s
Curry powder: Reduces joint inflammation, may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s
Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, helps circulation, used to tread digestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, menstrual symptoms, headaches, and flu-like symptoms

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On that note…a delicious recipe with curry powder!

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp madras curry powder
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz (about 2 cups) chopped peeled butternut squash
1 cup light coconut milk
3 cups fat free vegetable or chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste (1/4 tsp salt + pepper)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Add oil to a medium soup pot, on medium heat. When oil is hot add onion, garlic and sauté. Add roasted cumin, masala and madras curry powder and mix well cooking another minute. Add broth, light coconut milk, butternut squash and cook covered until squash is soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove cover and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (or puree in a blender). Season with salt and fresh pepper and serve with fresh cilantro. Serves 3.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 158 calories; 6.7 g. fat;  0 mg. cholesterol; 374 mg. sodium; 22.3 g. carbohydrate; 4.3 g. fiber; 2.3 g. protein

Result: This was amazing! The flavors are outstanding – sweet, spicy, and a party in your mouth. When I heated up the leftovers in the break room at work, people thought it was a dessert. This soup is excellent, not sure what more to say other than it’s healthy, too!

I have a 3 mile run planned before work…off I go! 😀

Trivia Question: What is the #1 most requested pizza topping in the US?

I am planning a Q&A for next week. Send your questions (nutrition-related or otherwise) to me at PreventionRD@gmail.com!

Be well,

23 Comments

Filed under antioxidants, blog topic request, blood glucose, cancer, cholesterol, chronic disease, complimentary and alternative nutrition, diabetes, diet, dinner, exercise, fish oil/omega-3's, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, heart health, herbs, pizza, recipe, running, sodium, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

dinner for…one.

Yesterday was productive.

Work was productive. I came home to pound out a 4-miler and was showered all by 6pm…productive. I started on dinner…productive. And then I checked my phone. Mr. Prevention sent me a text.

Mr. P: I will be home late tonight…what are you thinking for dinner?
[20 minutes passes – I was working out/showering]
Mr. P: Your delay makes me think you are leaning towards pizza for take-out 😉
Me: Sorry for the delay, I was running. That’s fine, but I’m making French onion soup and crab cakes.
Mr. P: I don’t want soup, I had soup for lunch.
Me: Did you have homemade crab cakes for lunch, too?
Mr. P: I could handle crab cakes…but I do have a taste for pizza. 😀

Needless to say, Mr. P settled on a pizza. Oh well, can’t win’em all! More for me…and leftovers! Besides, his loss…it was gooood!

Pizza Head. How…appropriate!

So, onwards with the REAL food…

Crab Tater Tots Cakes from Eats Well With Others

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 3/4 cup seasoned mashed potatoes (I used leftovers from last night)
8 oz crab meat
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1/4 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp pepper)
oil for frying (1/3 cup canola oil)
2 Tbsp chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Directions:

In a small pan, combined the butter and water over medium-high heat.  Simmer until butter is melted.  Lower the heat and mix in the flour.  Keep mixing until the paste that forms peels away from the side of the pan.  Remove from heat and let it cool for five minutes.  Mix in the egg.

Mix the egg into the seasoned mashed potatoes.  Mix in the crab. Heat oil for frying.

Take a handful of the potato/crab mixture (or less depending on how large you want your tater tots to be).  Roll in some panko until it is completely covered.  Place in the oil, turning once in the frying process.  They should take 2-3 minutes to cook. Place on a paper towel lined plate. Yield: 9 medium-large crab cakes.

Nutrition Information (per crab cake): 177 calories; 12 g. fat; 42 mg. cholesterol; 266 mg. sodium; 10.6 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 3.8 g. protein

Result: These were great! I loved Joanne’s suggestion to add chives. I rarely fry, but these used very little oil and were very simple. I love crab cakes, so I’m glad to have a go-to recipe for them!

 

Remoulade Sauce adapted from Paula Deen

2 Tbsp chives, chopped
2 Tbsp green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp capers, with juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise + 1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

To prepare sauce, place the parsley, green onions, capers, and garlic in a blender or food processor and combine. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Blend well. Chill until ready to serve with seafood. This keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator for several weeks. Serves 8 (2 tablespoons each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 30 calories; 2.4 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 122 mg. sodium; 1.6 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 0.6 g. protein

Result: Delicious! I’ve never made remoulade sauce, but it’s delicious! I loved doing 1/2 Greek yogurt instead of all mayonnaise. You don’t need any additional salt because the capers are plenty salty.

And last, but not least…

French Onion Soup

2 cups low-sodium French onion soup
1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 slice of wheat bakery bread, cut in quarters
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, halved

Directions:

Preheat broiler to 500° F. Layer a baking sheet with tin foil.

Simmer soup and onions for 30-60 minutes, or until onions are tenders and very aromatic.

Pour soup into mugs and top with bread and then cheese. Place onto baking sheet and broil for 6-9 minutes, or until melted and bubbly. Serves 2.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 256 calories; 14 g. fat; 25 mg. cholesterol; 567 mg. sodium; 23 g. carbohydrate; 4 g. fiber; 11 g. protein

Result: Just like restaurant-style ooey gooey cheesiness! This isn’t quite “homemade” but it’s certainly jazzed up from the can. Delicious!

Quite the meal, wasn’t it? Like I said, productive day!

Question: What makes you feel most productive?

I love having my workout out of the way early on in the day…that makes the whole day seem easy breezy! ..Off to do my full body strength routine before work! 😀

Happy hump day,

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