Monday, April 25, 2011

Superfoods Part V

With temperatures reaching the 70’s the past 2 days in New York City I would like to turn the theme of my Superfoods this week to summer treats.

1.  Red Bell Peppers – Not only are they sweet and crunchy, they promote optimal health. These peppers are good for your heart, lungs, and eyes, and they are incredibly high in the antioxidant vitamins C and A.
- How to Prepare: Slice them up and eat them plain, add some hummus or dip, use them to make a veggie burger, add them to salad or toss them into a sauce for extra flavor. These crunchy vegetables are a personal favorite of mine, and one cup of raw red pepper slices is only 25 calories.

2. Kiwi – This small fruit is jam packed with vitamin C, contains folate, potassium, fiber, caratenoids, polyphenols, chlorophyll, glutathione and pectin. Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin E, a nutrient more commonly found in nuts and oils, which can be high in both fat and calories which will help your body fight off infection and illness.
- How to Prepare: Kiwi is a delicious, energizing snack that can be taken with you absolutely anywhere. Eat it alone as a snack, toss it in a salad or add it to a smoothie. This nutrient packed fruit contains about 93 calories for two kiwis.
Kiwi Fruit on Foodista

3. Beets – I did not grow up eating Beets but I am sure making up for lost time now. Beets are a good source for vitamin C, fiber, Foliate, Potassium and Manganese.
How to Prepare: With summer just around the corner prepare chilled soups and try out a new salad recipe.  Roast a few beets and top with some goat cheese. A cup of beets is filling and only contains 58 calories.

Here are a few links to some recipes containing these Superfoods:

Past Superfood Entries:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cooking for My Parents

My parents just celebrated their 33rd Anniversary, and I decided that this year instead of going crazy trying to think of the perfect gift I would cook them dinner. Well instead of thinking of the perfect gift I was left to think of the perfect meal.

My parents are not picky eaters and I knew whatever I made they would love because "It's the thought that counts" but I really wanted to show them how much I am enjoying my nutrition classes and the ways in which it is helping to shape my cooking.

After looking through a few hundred recipes I finally decided on the menu:

Vegetable Salad with Creamy Oregano Dressing

Ingredients for Salad:
1 small head romaine lettuce, washed and dried                   
1 small head frisee, washed and dried                       
1 small head radicchio, washed and dried                 
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 red radishes, sliced paper thin                     
3/4 cup canned hearts of palm, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 6)
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
1/4 cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
1 cup diced feta cheese (6 ounces)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste                     

Ingredients for Oregano Dressing:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons mayonnaise                  
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard                      
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil    
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
Making the Dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar mayonnaise, and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth and well blended. Stir in the oregano and salt and pepper.

Making the Salad:
Chop the lettuce, radicchio, and frisée into bite-sized pieces. Toss them together in a large bowl. Add two-thirds of the vinaigrette and salt and pepper.
Mix together the remaining vegetables, cheese, and herbs in the mixing bowl and toss with the remaining vinaigrette.
Spoon the mixture into the serving bowl and serve immediately.

The salad was fantastic! It is a great mix of vegetables and the dressing had great flavor. I will be making this for many meals to come! Be sure to switch out vegetables for the different seasons and try seasonings in the dressing other then oregano… I plan to try basil next!

Whole Wheat Linguini with Anchovies, Kale and Tomatoes

Ingredients:
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 bunch cavolo nero (Kale) stemmed and shredded
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
6 to 8 flat anchovy fillets
1 fresh chile pepper, finely chopped
About 1/4 cup EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large egg yolks
Salt and black pepper
A few grates nutmeg
Grated pecorino-romano cheese

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is working, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovies, cover the pan with a splatter screen or loose foil and let the anchovies melt into the oil. Add the chile pepper and garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Add the kale and let it wilt; toss in tomatoes and season with a little nutmeg.
In a measuring cup, beat the egg yolks with some of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss the drained spaghetti with the kale, a few handfuls of pecorino-romano, lots of black pepper and the tempered egg yolks; add more pasta cooking water as necessary to evenly coat. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls.

Just as expected my parents said they loved dinner and were so happy to have me cook for them, I plan to do it again sometime soon, no need to wait until their 34th anniversary when both Mother and Father’s day are coming up.

In addition to mom and dad I had two special 4 legged guests
Schnoodles and Dylan

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Hint of Greens Snack - 4.21.11

What do you get when you mix Bok Choy with Carrots and Apple? Give up, a great Martha Stewart slaw recipe.

Try out this great dish, great as a snack, side salad with a piece of grilled fish, or over a piece of chicken.

Ingredients:
1 pound baby bok choy (4 to 6 heads)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 peeled apple, cut into matchsticks
2 large shredded carrots
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:
1. Halve baby bok choy lengthwise; rinse under cold water to remove grit. Cut crosswise into thin strips; place in a large colander, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Toss to coat. Top with a plate that fits inside colander; weight with a heavy object (such as a skillet or canned goods). Set aside in sink to drain.

2. In a large bowl, mix apple, carrots, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and peeled fresh ginger. Add bok choy; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Toss.
Superfood Note: Bok choy has a mild, sweet flavor, crisp stalks, and tender leaves. It’s also rich in vitamin C, calcium, and folic acid.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Superfoods Part IV

Today I am going to talk about 3 Superfoods that I plan to prepare in a dish later this week to celebrate my parents 33rd Anniversary.  Stay tuned for recipes and photos.
1. Anchovies – Not only are they high in heart friendly polyunsaturated fatty acids but these little fish also help lower cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease. Anchovies are also a good source of essential vitamins E and D as well as calcium and selenium.
How to Prepare: Cook into a pasta dish, add to a sauce or dressing for extra flavor, and my personal favorite make a Cesar Salad and put some one top.
2.  Kale – Containing iron, calcium, copper, dietary fiber, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, E, as well as other phytonutrients the real question is what doesn’t Kale provide? One portion of kale is only 36 calories but it provides a massive 192% of your daily vitamin A needs.  The health benefits seem endless and this healthy vegetable is extremely versatile.
How to Prepare: Use it as the base of a salad, sauté it as a side with fish or chicken, add it to a pasta dish or cous cous, bake it into a chip, or my new personal favorite is adding it to a smoothie to get my day started.  
*** DO YOU HAVE A DAIRY ALLERGY?*** If you need calcium but are allergic or intollerant to dairy products kale could be the answer as is a great source of calcium. It's not as high in calcium as cow's milk, but it does not have the saturated fat associated with cow's dairy milk making it an excellent choice for both children and adults.  
3.  Hot Peppers – This spicy addition to a meal have many benefits aside from containing vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, potassium, and iron. Hot Peppers contain a substance called capsaicin which helps fight inflammation, topical capsaicin aids in natural pain relief, cardiovascular benefits, clear congestion, boost immunity, lower risk of type 2 diabetes and more.
How to Prepare: Roast them, toast them, sauté them or just eat them raw. If you like spice you can’t go wrong adding these to any dish; add them. to Guacamole for a Taco Night, toss them into a pasta dish or salad.
I will be back later this week with a recipe featuring all 3 of these ingredients…
Past Superfood Entries:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My New Love, Cilantro Margaritas

Last night was my friend Lucy's birthday and she decided on Vamos! for dinner. Seeing as I had Taco Night Friday it seemed fitting in the theme of my weekend.  

Since dinner was at 9pm I didn't want to eat to heavy so I approached the meal with a plan. I find it important to map out your meal if eating out; I tend to check a menu prior to make sure there is something healthy on the menu.

I do like to indulge a bit on the weekend, with that said I called up my friend Cari and asked her if she wanted to split Shrimp Fajitas, of course she was interested so that is just what we did.

Ilene, Cari and Myself
We sat down for dinner and everyone ordered a Cilantro Margarita, I had never been to Vamos! before and never had the drink and let me tell you it was AMAZING!!!!!

The Shrimp Fajitas were fantastic and the Margaritas (two to be exact) totally hit the spot!!!!
  



It's nice to be able to go out to eat and not have to worry about caloric intake while out since you have already planned your day or week to fit it in. I will gladly bike a few extra miles to have a cocktail with friends.

Life is all about balance; hit the gym for a few extra minutes if you are concerned about a group dinner, read the menu beforehand so you are not overwhelmed by options when you arrive. You are in charge of your life and your choices, so make good ones and most of all have fun!!!!
Happy Birthday Lucy!!!!!


Cooking with Friends - Taco Night

Instead of going out to dinner and spending a ton of cash Friday night I decided to invite my friends Sami, Nikki and Aly over for a night of cooking and relaxing.

Taco's and Skinnygirl Margarita's a fun night for just about $50. Can't beat that!!!




Ingredients:
 - Old Paso Taco Set
- Black Beans
- WW wraps
- Tomatoes
- Avocados
- Onion
- Spanish Rice
- Cilantro
- Greek Yogurt



Below are some photos of the chefs in the kitchen, and the great spread we put together
 
 Nikki on the Pico
     
I am cooking the Turkey Meat

Aly mashing the Guacamole 
     
Dinner is served!!!!

What for Dinner? Leftovers

After planning dinner for 4 Wednesday night I had a hodgepodge of leftovers to use up, so that is just what I did.

Dinner, party of 1: Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables and a glass of Riesling.

Ingredients:
- 1 Spicy Sausage
- Handful of Kale
- Handful of Arugula
- A bunch of Cherry Tomatoes
- Black Olives
- Goat Cheese
- Whole Wheat Pasta

I started by sautéing the sausage and crumbling it up. I then added to kale to the pan to sauté.
Once cooked, I added in the tomatoes and olives and finally topped with the pasta, arugula and goat cheese.
Lastly I poured myself a glass of wine and enjoyed an evening of searching for a new job.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poor Girl's Sushi

Since my full time job these days are school, this new blog and rehabbing my foot I am trying to find efficient ways to enjoy the foods I like on a budget.

Sushi is one of my favorite foods and I have finally found a way to satisfy the craving for just a few dollars.

I stopped by M2M located at 55 3rd Avenue, if you like Asian Markets take the trip they have everything! Anyway, I stopped by and picked up a pack of frozen crabmeat for $5.99 Included are 30 sticks of crab!!

On my walk home I picked up a Mango from a vendor for $2 to eat with the crab

For $7 I now have at least 15 snacks I can eat... well I may need another mango.
This dish is also very good with julienned cucumer,avocado slices and arugula (or most greens (you can never have a bad Hint of Green). When I make this with all of the mentioned ingredients I like to top it with a little Nakano Balsamic Rice Vinegar.

Make this a dinner by adding some edamame and having some brown rice on the side or even tossed into the salad.

Do you have a favorite at home recipe to cure your sushi craving???

Cooking for Friends... Or as I like to say a Dinner Party

I decided now that I am back on two feet it is time to get back into the kitchen and do some real cooking, so I invited three friends over to see how well I would fare in the kitchen.

Let's just say it was a success!!!!

I started the meal with a Fresh Tomato Salad

Ingredients:
1 lb tomatoes
Arugula
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Salt / Pepper
(Serves 4)

I sliced up the sorted tomatoes from the Union Square Farmers Market and arranged them on a plate, once arranged I prepared the dressing and then poured half of the dressing over the tomatoes and then used the rest to toss into Baby Arugula.


For the main course I had one dish in mind; Linguine with Sausage, Peppers and Arugula.

Ingredients:
¾ lb of Linguini (I used fresh pasta)
3 Sausage Links
2 Bell Peppers
1 tbsp Butter
2 Garlic Cloves

In the past I have sautéed sausage but after reading a few recipes I decided to cook them covered with 2 tbsp of water in a nonstick pan, they came out perfectly (cook for 5-7 minutes pending stove).

While the Sausage was cooking I added the Linguini to a pot of boiling water. While the Linguini was cooking I removed the sausage and began to slice them. I then strained the Linguini (reserving 1 cup of the water) and placed the sausage back into the pan with a tbsp of butter, ½ cup of reserved water as well as the sliced peppers and sautéed and covered until peppers were soft.

I then added the Linguine to the pan and topped with Arugula and poured in some reserved water as well.

While preparing the meal I was informed I had a guest that does not eat pork! Lucky for me and him I keep batches of my Turkey Meat Sauce in the freezer for such occasions so I defrosted that as well to add to pasta.
Low and behold I had three dishes, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white and four happy people sitting around the table.
 This meal took me 45minutes including prep. It's fun and easy to cook with friends.

Stay tuned for my next feature on Cooking with Friends...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can You Have 3 Hints of Green in 1 Day?!?!


Today I challenge myself and you to have 3 Hints of Green.

As I mentioned yesterday, I couldn't be happier to be back on my feet!!!! I started the day off with a Strawberry and Pear Smoothie with a handful of Spinach; I can't miss my Hint of Greens!

After that I was off to the gym for 60 minutes on the bike, I am pleased to say I was on the stationary bike for 60 minutes and rode 10.5 miles (while also getting some reading done for my Nutrition class). It was nice to be doing cardio, feeling the effects and reading about exercise at the same time.

I finished up my workout with a circuit on the Body Wedge. For those not familiar with the wedge I have included a picture. It is a circuit of 21 exercises including arms, abdominals and legs.

Once I was done with the gym I stopped by Eataly to get some food for a small dinner party I am having tonight and then it was time to head home and re-fuel.



With that being said below is today's lunch
- 6oz Dover Sole
- Kale (Hint of Green)
- Tomatoes
- Mediterranean Seasoning
- 2 tbsp EVOO
 
First I washed and diced the tomatoes and Kale and seasoned the fish
Next I heated 1 tbsp of EVOO and added the Kale and sautéed
Once the Kale was almost cooked I added the fish and Tomatoes to the pan to cook
 
I cooked the fish on each side until opaque.
Finally I placed the Kale and Tomatoes on the plate and topped with the fish

Lunch is served!!!
Stay tuned for my post for tonight’s dinner of a Farmers Market Tomato Salad and Linguini with Sausage and Peppers, and yes there will be a Hint of Green in there somewhere.