Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hearty Soups and Stews

Tis the season for having a warm cup or bowl of soup or stew. The air has a refreshing chill and warm foods are great for digestion. In fact foods and beverages are much better assimilated when warms or at least at room temperature. The beef stew recipe is a simulation of a stew that I had years ago at The New England Baptist Hospital cafeteria. I asked what was the "special ingredient" and was told it was basil. I went home to my food laboratory, the kitchen, and began the experiment. I think you'll enjoy this hearty stew. When I roast a chicken, I save the pan drippings, pull off the parts to be eaten and save the bones, wings, skin and some meat. All of this goes directly into the soup pot and the stock is started. There are many ways to make a chicken soup, but I like to get a few different meals from the roaster and also like to get the soup started while enjoying the chicken meal. I'm always thinking of efficiency when it comes to creating and preparing delicious and nutritious meals. Enjoy this soup with a baking powder biscuit or two! Hearty soups and stews Basic chicken soup 1 3# organic roasting chicken 2-3 celery stalks with leaves 1 onion 2 bay leaves ½ tsp marjoram ½ tsp thyme 3-4 carrots 1/3 cup brown rice or other grain Roast a chicken. Pull parts for meals etc, then put bones with leftover meat, skin and scrape the carmelized remains in the baking pan into a soup pot. Cover with water and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly before putting into refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator and skim fat, also remove skin from chicken and clear the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the stock and bring to a boil. Add 1-2 bay leaves, marjoram, thyme and minced celery with leaves, as well as a sliced onion. Add 1/3 cup grain such as brown rice, millet, barley, buckwheat or a combination of all. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped carrots and cook for 15 minutes. Cool. Best served the next day, but can be served immediately. Beef stew 1# grass fed sirloin strip steak or sirloin tips, cubed Olive or canola pan spray Gluten-free flour or cornstarch 1 turnip 3-4 carrots 1 onion 2-3 stalks celery with leaves 1 tsp basil 1/3 cup brown rice or other whole grain Cube beef and toss with 1 tbl flour or cornstarch. Heat pan with pan spray and brown beef cubes with diced celery stalks and onion. Add water to cover with about 2” water. Bring to boil and add rice, basil and celery leaves, simmering for about 20 minutes. Add cubed turnip and carrots, bring to boil, reduce and cook for additional 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unplugged and Happy Birthday

The weekend began with a crash of the internet, but it did not rattle me the way it usually would. I tend to keep up with work emails, answering clients within 24 hours and doing the weekly bills and office billing early every Sunday morning. But this weekend was to be different. I started my recertification training in yoga, thus was gone all day Saturday and Sunday. As should be no surprise, I was in my "zen mode" for the entire weekend. Monday arrived and I was back to no computerized charts, but that did not cause angst - I reverted to the old fashioned way of interviewing and assisting my clients. There was something actually a little nice about being unplugged. Fast forward to today, September 19 - my birthday. Usually, I am working and we celebrate as a family on a day that is convenient for us all, but today was different. I usually work at the clinic on Thursdays, but it is closed for updates for the next two days. Knowing this, I tried to work on filling my newly hired dietitian with clients, but he is finalizing details, so the day was open. Wow - what a gift. I decided to listen to the universe with regard to how hard it was to fit work in, and thus chose to take a day for me. Being self-employed with multiple initiatives, there is always work to do. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the lesson is learning to play as well as work - a word not in my vocabulary until recently. When we balance life with work, rest and play, our true selves shine through. This week has provided me with wonderful opportunities and the message for you all is to go with the flow, listening to your heart. Last of all is my creative concoction for dinner: leftover roast pork tenderloin, diced garden tomato, chopped sauté both in coconut oil sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano, parsley, basil top with green olives and shredded parmesan place on arugula serve with toasted millet-flax lavash Enjoy! Julie

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fish Anyone?

Fish is a popular protein in today's world. It is low in calories and saturated fat and is called brain food because of its amino acid content and omega three fatty acids. Be sure to choose wild caught rather than farm-raised fish, as the farm raised contains higher levels of contaminants. Try this delicious recipe that combines a variety of flavors including sweet potato, capers, parsley and tomato. An interesting combination! Fish with Tomato Ragout on Shredded Sweet Potatoes Serves 4 2 tablespoons flour ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 4 fillets (about 1 pound) cod fillets or any white fish 6 cups water 3 sweet potatoes, peeled, shredded in food processor 1 dash ground black pepper 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup red onion, diced 2 cups plum tomatoes, diced ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained Directions: 1. Combine flour and red pepper flakes in a shallow dish and coat fillets with mixture. 2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 3. Place fillets in skillet; cook 4 to 6 minutes, carefully turning once, until fish flakes easily with fork. Remove from skillet and keep warm. 4. Meanwhile, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add shredded sweet potatoes and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and add ground pepper. 5. Heat butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red onion; cook and stir 30 seconds. 6. Add tomato, parsley and capers; heat through. 7. Divide shredded potatoes among 4 plates; place fish fillet on potatoes; top with tomato ragout. Nutrient Analysis: Nutrient Single Serving Calories 278 Protein (g) 23 Carbohydrates (g) 31 Fat (g) 7 Saturated Fat (g) 4 Cholesterol (mg) 64 Sodium (mg) 251 Dietary Fiber (g) 5 Exchanges: 3 meat, 2 bread, 1 fat Make it a meal: For each serving add 1 cup steamed Italian pole beans. Enjoy! Julie

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fight Back . . .

As I was looking through my recipes this morning, I came upon a a book that my mom gave me years ago, "Fight Back With Food", a great resource about foods, their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and qualities that can assist in healing certain diseases. It struck me odd that "Fight" was the word being used. A few hours later, I was at the cancer clinic to have my check up with my oncologist whom I adore. While sitting in the waiting room, I became aware once again of the idea of chemotherapy "fighting" cancer. I left to come back to see patients and was so aware of the theme that prevails in our society. We are seduced into believing that life is war, that we are separate from other beings, whether animal, plant or people. I further thought about how I approach my clients' issues. It is not usually using food to fight conditions, but rather to understand how food can heal and how certain behaviors have been present to support one's well-being, even if they have overstayed their welcome. Case in point, as I spoke with one of my clients, I gently reminded her that anorexia and being overly focused on calories was a coping mechanism that allowed her to deal with tremendous stress as a child, stress that she had no other way to manage. Counting calories is often less scary than dealing with abusive parents, peer relationships, choosing whether or not to attend college. I suggested that she can thank her eating disorder for being there, but that now she is learning and using other nurturing techniques to support her physical and emotional growth. Pay attention to concepts of "fighting", "beating", "overcoming", and consider softening the tone, recognizing that all that is in the universe is complementary. Healing on all levels begins with acceptance and self-love. Namaste Julie

Friday, September 6, 2013

Green - Nature,Color, Heart Health - Did You Get Your Dose Today?

As I walked the lake with my dog, Tammie, a little shih-poo, who is my walking and running buddy, I entertained my message for this blog. Green on many levels, provides us with healing qualities, from being out in nature to cooking those beloved greens such as kale and swiss chard. I love to walk in nature, taking in the variety of green leaves, and seeing how the sun shines through the tress, casting different shades. What I notice the most is the calming effect that this has on my body and brain. Feeling the difference is quite remarkable - tension reduces in muscles, eyes are less tired and energy is renewed yet calmed at the same time. Another interesting aspect of the color green is that it is associated with the heart chakra, the energy center that allows us to receive love and to give love. This chakra is known as the feeling center. Many of the popular greens that we cook or use in salads, are also rich in nutrients that keep our hearts healthy along with other systems of the body. Deep greens are rich in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A, folic acid, iron and calcium. The downside is that they also contain oxalic acid, a chemical that helps the plant to survive the harsh elements, but that also makes it hard for the body to absorb the iron and calcium. To counter this effect, adding an acid to the cooking or eating process, allows these minerals to be absorbed. Try this delicious way to prepare steamed greens: Steamed Greens 1 bunch greens, rinsed and stems trimmed, cut or torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces Steam in heavy pan using just the water that is left clinging to the leaves - about 1-2 minutes or until leaves shrink Drain remaining water and toss with 2 tbl unrefined apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, 2 tsp olive oil and 1 garlic clove minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder Yours in health, Julie

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Content Not Calories - and - A Delicious Recipe

It's interesting to look at what America focuses on regarding our nation's health. Calories seem to dominate the fault for many of our chronic diseases - diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gout and obesity. While calories certainly do count, they are not the only reason and may be less of the cause than originally thought. Much of the recent research is now focused on inflammatory effects of chemicals in foods and the genetic modification of foods which alter how the body is able to digest and absorb nutrition. Many calorie reduced foods are laden with chemicals that are completely unrelated to food. Take for example, many low carb, low calorie breads are infused with extra gluten to increase the protein content, while decreasing the carbohydrate content. These foods are also boosted with fibers and chemicals to provide flavor and texture resembling their original counterparts. Gluten containing grains are difficult for many people to digest and these grains have been genetically modified, further creating digestive disturbances. But there is good news here! Choose organic fruits and vegetables, organic grains, grass fed meats and organic poultry and eggs, and cold water fish, never farm raised. If it is not financially possible to purchase all organic fruits and veggies, at least look at the "dirty dozen" and be sure that these are organic. Certainly be cautious about portions. Visualize your plate 1/2 full of veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 starch. When eating sandwiches, eat 1/2 the bread, all the meat and add a side salad or vegetable/broth-based soup. Stay tuned for my cookbook, Feel Great, Look Great Recipes: Food For A Healthy You. Try this delicious chicken dish that I adjusted from the decadent, Food and Wine magazine. Crusted Chicken Breasts Serves 4 4 boneless chicken breasts Cooking spray For dipping mixture: 2 large egg whites 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice For crusting mixture: 1 cup coarse bread crumbs 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 1 dash kosher salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 2. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting breasts in half and pounding to an even ½ inch thick. 3. In a wide, shallow dish blend egg whites, cornstarch, and lemon juice; set aside. 4. Combine bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and zest in a second wide, shallow dish. 5. Crust chicken breasts by dipping a chicken breast into the egg mixture, letting the excess run off, then fully coating in bread crumb mixture. Repeat for each chicken breast. 6. Let chicken rest at room temperature on a rack for 20 minutes to set crust. 7. Using a large, nonstick oven-proof skillet, coat with cooking spray and sauté chicken over moderate-high heat for about 3 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp, turning to crisp both sides. 8. Carefully turn with a spatula and transfer skillet to oven for about 8 minutes until chicken is done. Nutrient Analysis: Nutrient Single Serving Calories 152 Protein (g) 23 Carbohydrates (g) 9 Fat (g) 2 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 49 Sodium (mg) 189 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Exchanges: 3 meat, ½ bread, ½ fat Alternatives:  Parmesan Crusted Chicken: Add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese to crusting mixture. Make it a meal: 1 serving Sage-Butter Sauce, 1 serving Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary, ½ cup steamed green beans.