We've all heard, "You are What You Eat" and that's true. If you tend to eat high fat, high carbs and high sodium foods you won't look as healthy or be as healthy as when you eat lots of fruits, veggies and fish, and foods that are low in fat, carbs and sodium but have plenty of protein. Plus of course you must combine all that with a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise. We all know that's true but for some it's not always easy to do.
If you knew though that certain foods were good for you and could even make you more beautiful don't you think you'd at least want to try them? Well here's a list of foods that can help give your new years resolution a jump start to a healthier lifestyle and beautiful body.
It's low in fat with a good source of protein, important for healthy hair growth. It has high amounts of zinc, which helps prevent acne and boost your immune function.
Plus the addition of B vitamin will make your hair look shinier. Of course, remember to leave out the butter for dipping!
Contains 25% of an adult's daily quota of fiber. It also is detoxifying because it helps rid the body of waste which in turn will give you a clearer and more radiant complexion. In addition in contains an antioxidant called, "rutin" that reduces inflammation throughout the body, leaving skin looking plumper and less red.
High in Omega-3s and Vitamin E resulting in glowing skin and shiny hair.
Loaded with Vitamin C it stimulates collagen production which will keep your skin from aging prematurely. Strawberries also contain a natural astringent called "malic acid", that can help remove discoloration from your teeth.
Full of fiber and high in vitamin A, keeping skin fresh, smooth and clear.
We've heard it as the Super Fruit because it's full of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants which boosts your immunity, improves skin glow and reduces wrinkles.
One of the best kown sources of skin-beautifying omega fatty acids reducing inflamation more effectively than almost any other food. It enhances radiance and reduces wrinkles and puffiness.
This vegetable is high in fiber to keep your skin clear plus has plenty of vitamin A & C reducing wrinkles and skin discoloration. Plus it makes your eyes look whiter because of the nutrient "lutein".
High in vitamin B leaving you with glowing skin and soft hair. Plus high in protein.
Because of the probiotics in this drink it cleanses the digestive tract, so skin appears clear and more luminous. In addition studies have shown that those who drink kefir have a more significant amount of weight loss than those that don't.
Stumped about how to cook these foods or put them in recipes. Just google them online and 100s will pop up.
Now you can be a few steps closer to a healthier you this New Years!
Have a Happy and Healthy one!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Looking for a great simple appetizer for New Years or just anytime? This White Bean Hummus is sure to please and so simple.
White Bean Hummus
2 cans Chick Peas, drained
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro rinsed and dried
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
juice of 1 lemon
cumin to taste
salt to taste
Place first 4 ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Add last 2 ingredients and blend to taste.
Best if made a couple hours ahead and then placed in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld.
Serve with crackers, crostini, fresh veggies or whatever suits you.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I haven't been on my computer much this week since I've been so busy getting ready for the holidays, cooking for family and friends, shopping, wrapping presents and spending time with my family who are all home.
Last night I made a wonderful dinner of Individual Beef Wellingtons stuffed with Portabella Mushrooms, Spinach and Goat Cheese with a Port Wine Demi-Glace'. It was heavenly and a dish I teach for one of my in-home culinary classes. However since I was so caught up in the moment I forgot to take a photo of it to post on my blog, so you'll just have to imagine it.
I hope that for those of you that celebrate Christmas that the day is spent surrounded by all your loved ones with lots of joy and laughter!
Merry Christmas and Happy Eating!
Friday, December 18, 2009
This time of year many of us like to give our friends and those that provide services to us a little gift of appreciation. I've always enjoyed cooking and since it allows me to create tasty treats for everyone it also doesn't break the bank.
One treat that I've found most people love is Peppermint Bark. So if you're having a difficult time trying to figure out what to give someone try making a batch of these. One batch will serve 2 as a nice gift. Place it in a cellophane gift bag with a note or festive tin.
Don't worry this is easy!
make 2 nice gift bags
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz. bag white chocolate morsels
starlight peppermints (red and white ones) or bagged crushsed peppermints
1-2 tsp. peppermint extract
In a zip lock bag crush about 20 starlight mints with a mallet, leaving chunks of mint. Set aside.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe container and cook for 30 seconds, then stir and place back in microwave for another 30 seconds, stir and once more for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Don't microwave all at once, do in stages to prevent over cooking ths chocolate.
Pour semi-sweet chocolate in a heavy-duty foil lined 9.5 x 13 pan. Spread completely with an offset spatula.
While stirring the semi-sweet chocolate place white chocolate in a microwave safe container and heat in microwave as directly above, stirring in between cooking until smooth. Add peppermint extract - blend.
Then pour the white chocolate directly over the top of the semi-sweet chocolate in the same pan. Spread completely over the top. If desired can swirl colors together, like a marbling effect or can leave as two solid colors.
Sprinkle the crumbled starlight mints over the top of the chocolate. Then take another sheet of heavy-duty foil and place directly over the entire pan and mixture. Pressing firmly on the foil and smoothing the top with your hands to insure that the peppermints are tucked firmly into the chocolate. Seal the foil to cover.
At this point place in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Then with plastic gloves or even 2 plastic bags over each hand, break apart the peppermint bark. Place in bags or tins to give as gifts or leave for yourself as a treat. Trust me it doesn't last long.
Peppermint Bark is best kept refrigerated until ready to eat.
If you're looking for a quick treat to put together in the hectic holiday rush try this. Your recipients will love it!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Nothing says the holidays to me more than when I teach Gingerbread House making classes. Each year I do anywhere from 3-10 gingerbread house classes during the holiday season and absolutely love the looks on the childrens faces after they've completed theirs.
This past weekend Nikki invited some of the neighborhood kids over so that I could teach them how to cut out, bake, construct and decorate their very own gingerbread house. For those children that were younger the parents were there to assist.
It started out as usual with all the kids running around excited and nibbling on all the candy that was to be used to decorate their houses. Then after the gingerbread house templates came out of the oven they got down to serious business.
I always tell the parents that once the kids start their construction the room gets very quiet. Each child is so intent on their creation with just minimal talking, comparing and sharing of ideas during that time. They don't believe me until they see it with their own eyes.
Then once the kids have completed their creation their faces light up feeling proud of their accomplishment. As you can see from this adorable young man.
There were 7 children in all on Sunday and each created their own masterpiece totally unique from the others. With Gingerbread House in hand they left for the day to brighten their homes for the holidays with their new creation!
What a perfect way to have spent the day.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I am always looking for something new to bring to the dinner table. So when I saw these fun shaped pastas I just had to share them with all of you. The Pasta Shoppe has pasta shaped for Chanukah, Christmas and every holiday or event you can think of. If you order soon you might even have them in time for the holidays at a discounted price.
In addition to the pasta and recipes to use with them they have many other fun items as well.
If you're looking for something unique to serve this holiday, check out The Pasta Shoppe.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Looking for something different this Chanukah to go with your Brisket? Why not try some Zucchini Latkes? These are delicious, healthy and a change from the traditional potato latke.
1 pound Zucchini, shredded with skin left on
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (canola, olive, grapeseed, etc)
Monterey Jack cheese, optional (depending on your menu and dietary restrictions)
Mix all ingredients together except the oil. Pour small amount of oil in a skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. When hot drop a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan (drop close to the pan to avoid splattering yourself) and press lightly with the back of your spoon to form a small circle. Continue leaving space between each latke and adding more oil as necessary. Brown on one side and then flip over to brown on the other side.
If desired you can add some Monterey Jack cheese on top of each or some of the Latkes for additional flavor. Dietary restrictions may apply if you're kosher and eating meat with these latkes. Also wonderful with a dollop of sour cream on top or spice it up and add some cayenne to the batter.
Sorry the photo is a little blurry. After taking the pictures my family gobbled these up before I even uploaded them onto the computer. Otherwise, I would have taken a few more shots for better clarity.
For those of you that celebrate Chanukah I wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday!
I love using Crystallized Ginger although many of you may not have heard of it or know how to use these dried slices of sugar coated ginger root.
Well last night I received an email from Hazel of www.Friedas.com who wanted to pass on some information about the Crystalized Ginger that I thought I'd share with you, especially during one of the most perfect seasons to use it. Here's what she had to say:
Sweet & Spicy: 10 Ways to Use Crystallized Ginger
Frieda's Crystallized Ginger a Holiday Favorite.
LOS ALAMITOS, CA – You’ve probably passed by this item thousands of times in your supermarket’s produce department or baking aisle. Crystallized Ginger – dried slices of natural ginger root, cured and coated in sugar. It sure sounds nice, but what do you use it for? Frieda’s Specialty Produce offers 10 great ideas for putting this sweet, spicy and comforting ingredient to work in your kitchen:
1. Chop and add to batter for cookies, such as ginger snaps, or quick breads like gingerbread, orange bread or banana bread.
2. Melt butter with diced Crystallized Ginger, fresh lemon juice and sliced green onions in a saucepan. Spoon over hot rice and serve with chicken or fish.
3. Sprinkle finely chopped pieces as a finishing touch on apple pie a la mode or a whipped cream-topped brownie.
4. Combine diced Crystallized Ginger with nuts, brown sugar and spices for a baked apple or pear filling.
5. Add chunks to a stir-fry for a sweet and spicy bite.
6. Dip Crystallized Ginger pieces in melted chocolate. Let cool and serve as a special after dinner treat.
7. Add to water and sugar mixture to make ginger-infused simple syrup. Strain before adding to drinks, such as iced tea.
8. Sprinkle diced Crystallized Ginger into fruit salad for a spicy, zesty flavor lift.
9. Add to a homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest.
10. Or, just snack on this sweet treat right out of the package. Crystallized Ginger is especially helpful for calming the stomach while traveling.
(Note: Look for Frieda’s Crystallized Ginger in the produce department.)
Here are three simple sauce recipes for Frieda’s Crystallized Ginger:
Crystallized Ginger Sauce Variations
Oriental Rice with Ginger Sauce:
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
4 green onions
2 tbsp. Crystallized Ginger, chopped
3 cups steamed white rice
Melt butter or margarine in a skillet; add chopped green onions, including tops. On medium heat, cook 2 minutes and add crystallized ginger. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add to rice and toss lightly.
- - - - - - - - -
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 tbsp. Crystallized Ginger, chopped
1 tbsp. sherry
Melt butter or margarine in a heavy skillet or saucepan. Add carrots and crystallized ginger. Cover and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes making sure not to overcook. Add sherry, stir, and serve.
- - - - - - - - - -
Exotic Sundae with Ginger Sauce
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup Crystallized Ginger, chopped
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Ice cream or pound cake
Mix corn syrup, crystallized ginger, and 1/4 cup of the cream in a saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup of cream. Heat through but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter or margarine and vanilla. Serve warm or cold over ice cream or pound cake.
Source: Frieda’s Inc.
Frieda’s is passionate about changing the way America eats. Founded in 1962 by Frieda Caplan, Frieda's, Inc. was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned and operated by a woman. Once a small produce stand at the Los Angeles Produce Market, Frieda's has emerged as the nation's premier marketer and distributor of specialty produce and now offers more than 600 specialty items to grocery stores and foodservice distributors throughout the U.S. and Canada. America has Frieda’s to thank for introductions to Kiwifruit, Shallots, Cherimoyas, Donut® Peaches, Sugar Snap™ Peas and Habanero Peppers and the innovations just keep coming.
So the next time you're at the grocery store why not pick up some Crystallized Ginger. It will add a new dimension to your recipes!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I've had such a busy week I haven't had anytime to post anything on my blog. However, Sunday I had some time and decided I wanted to try and make some Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. All I can say is WOW-they are delicious!
These scrumptious cookies aren't hard to make at all. Just follow the steps and you'll do great. After I made the cookie dough I put them in the refrigerator overnight since I had to run off someplace. Then yesterday morning I pulled them out of the refrigerator and scooped them onto a cookie sheet. I liked how they turned out best when cold from the frig. They were much easier to release from the mini cookie/ice cream scoop that I had. Although making them all at once is fine as well. I just found that since the dough is soft, chilling it made it easier to scoop.
Here's the recipe, I'm certain they'll be a huge hit for all those you share them with.
Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Makes about 20 2-inch whoopie pies
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
In a large bowl, whisk together (or use electric mixer) flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves; set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Then add pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
Using a small cookie dough/ice cream scoop or heaping teaspoon drop batter onto parchment lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Firmly tap the bottom of the sheet pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles in the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 10-13 minutes or until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean. Let cool completely on pan.
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In a bowl mix butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.
If you're looking for a lighter filling try the whipped cream filling I have posted on my blog for my Chocolate Avalanche Cake. I think the cream cheese filling is delicious but this would also be a nice alternative.
If you try these please let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The holidays are the perfect time to pull out all the stops on your creativity. I personally love to make gifts and luscious treats for everyone. One of my favorite things to do is to make a Gumdrop Wreath or Candy Wreath. It's so simple that even the kids will enjoy helping.
To make the wreath, you'll need a plastic craft foam wreath form (which can be purchased at any craft store), masking tape, wire, wooden picks, jumbo gumdrops and ribbon. The quantities needed will depend on the size of your wreath.
Begin by wrapping masking tape around what will be the top of the wreath. The tape reinforces the wreath for hanging. Wrap wire around the wreath over the tape, bending the wire into a hanging loop at the back of the wreath. Break wooden picks in half, inserting the broken ends into the gumdrops. Cover the top and sides of the wreath with gumdrops. Tie a bow at the top of the wreath, hinding the wire.
There you have it! A fun and festive wreath to hang on your door or to give as a gift to a friend or teacher. Now how fun is that? It's amazing all the things we can do with food.
This is just one simple yet fun idea for the holidays. Check back often for more recipes, tips and creative ideas all food related for the upcoming holidays.