Ever Eat a Pumpkin? Thu, 10/14/2010 - 16:49 - sarah
A sure sign of the autumn season is pumpkins. The big orange, round squash is out and about around town. From lattes to bread and muffins, pumpkin is becoming an increasingly popular flavor.
Besides being a perfect fall decoration, pumpkins are also a nutritional powerhouse. They are good from the inside out. Pumpkin seeds are filled with essential minerals, protein, and heart healthy unsaturated fat. The bright, orange-colored flesh is loaded with an important antioxidant called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is important for eye health, may reduce the risk for some cancers, and reduce risk of heart disease.
Pumpkins can be eaten like other types of squash, such as butternut or acorn squash. The flesh and the seeds can be roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite spices in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until tender. The best tasting pumpkin is the smaller pumpkin pie variety found in grocery stores. A short cut to enjoying the flavor and health benefits of pumpkin is to use canned pumpkin. A can of pumpkin is not just for pumpkin pie. You can add canned pumpkin to breads, muffins, and even oatmeal.
Here’s a great pumpkin muffin recipe from a friend of ours.
“Nikki’s Pumpkin Muffins”
Makes about 12 healthy pumpkin muffins.
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. raisins
1/3 c mini chocolate chips
1/4 c. fat free plain yogurt (Use this is instead of Butter)
1/4 c skim milk
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a big bowl. Stir. Scoop the batter into muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Gluten-free: To Be or Not to Be? Thu, 10/07/2010 - 22:50 - sarah
This week Laura Hill is my guest blogger. Laura Hill is a graduate of Lipscomb University with a B.S. in Nutrition and is a current dietetic intern through Lipscomb University. She has been on a gluten-free diet for 10 years due to celiac disease, and in this post she will clear some misconceptions of following the gluten free diet for weight-loss.
Gluten-free is a phrase that is popping everywhere you turn; from restaurant menus and packaged foods to tabloids featuring celebrities following a gluten free diet to lose weight. For those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy, it is crucial to follow a gluten free diet, although it is not thought to be beneficial for those who do not suffer from these conditions.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats and present in many foods like bread, cakes, pizza, cookies, and as a thickening agent in soups. Today there are gluten-free versions of all baked goods and packaged foods. Many of these foods tend to be higher in carbohydrates, fat, and overall calories. So just because a product is labeled gluten-free does not mean it's always healthy. Simply removing products that contain gluten from the diet and replacing them with these gluten-free products will not lead to weight loss.
Removing gluten without a health reason can cause a person to miss out on many healthy whole grains that add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet. The gluten-free diet can still be healthy if it includes whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, sorghum, and flax meal. It is important when beginning a gluten free diet to consult a registered dietitian to ensure all nutritional needs are met.
Sarah-Jane's Shrimp and Grits Mon, 09/20/2010 - 18:04 - sarah
One of my favorite restaurants in my hometown of Oxford, MS is City Grocery, which is known the world over for their shrimp and grits. This classic southern dish is delicious, but it's traditionally high in saturated fat from all the butter, cheese, and bacon. And even though I'm a dietitian, I'm a southern girl through and through, so I decided to create my own version of this tasty classic. While my version is not necessarily low in calories/fat, it is a lot lower in saturated fat than the traditional version, while still being a full flavor recipe. What's more, I've added some extra traditional southern veggies like black-eyed peas and okra to pump up the fiber and nutrient content. I think you'll enjoy my cheesey, creamy take on the grits, and my unique, flavorful blend of shrimp, spicy turkey sausage and veggies.Ingredients:
1 cup quick grits
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese and A Balsamic Reduction Thu, 09/16/2010 - 01:27 - sarah
The colors of fall will soon be popping out all around us, so let's put some of those colors on our plate with my delicious butternut squash recipe that has layers of flavor and loads of nutrients! Enjoy!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese and A Balsamic Reduction
1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled goats cheese
1/4 cup pecan halves, roasted (see directions below)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. orange zest
For Pecans: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, spread pecan halves into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes or until fragrant (also can be toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning). Remove from heat/oven. Let cool. Roughly chop. Set aside.
Making Healthy Taste Good Wed, 09/01/2010 - 20:41 - sarah
When I was a very little girl, my grandfather had a heart attack. Thankfully, he survived, but the doctor told him and my grandmother that he would have to change the way he was eating, if he wanted to live much longer. Twenty some odd years later, he is still alive, thanks in a large part to my grandmother changing the way she cooked. Raised in middle Tennesse, my grandmother's style of cooking was decidedly southern, full of biscuts, cornbread, and my grandfather's favorite: rich desserts! However, after the heart attack, my grandmother retaught herself how to cook the southern classics in a healthier way. The recipe below is one of my favorites from her. Biscuits made from heart healthy canola oil and whole wheat flour-still fluffy and tasty, just less saturated fat and more fiber! My grandmother is my inspiration when it comes to cooking because she doesn't just cook healthy foods, she cooks foods full of flavor and is known by many the world over as a wonderful cook! She has perfected the art of healthy tasty cooking so much so that my grandfather can still enjoy his ice cream and dessert everyday! And I have been blessed from the fact that they have lived so many more healthy, happy years! I wish them many more!
Grandma Shields's Canola Oil Biscuits:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
A Runner's Green Monster Smoothie Thu, 07/29/2010 - 21:58 - sarah
This recipe comes from an old friend and one of the best runners I know. Sarah Reardon Deller and I sweat together through many a workout in the rice fields of Arkansas while running together on Harding University's cross country team. While I ate her dust, Sarah set many a record, and helped lead the team to numerous NCAA conference championships and top 20 finishes at the National Championships. She is a petite person, but full of strength, power, and determination. Sarah now serves as a high school track and cross country coach and is still an avid (and fast) runner today, so when she sent me this recipe, I sat up and took notice. I recently tried this smoothie, and she's right, you can't even taste the spinach, yet it is full of great nutrients, such as folic acid, iron, and B vitamins! Great if you are a championship runner (like Sarah), merely a devoted jogger (like me) or even if you are just looking for an easy way to eat healthier! Enjoy!
Green Monster Smoothie:
1 cup almond milk
2 or 3 cups of spinach
two handfuls of ice
Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix on high. Enjoy!
Grilled Salad Wed, 07/07/2010 - 17:35 - sarah
Our neighbor Chris is a grill-master, so naturally, we were thrilled when he and his wife, Jenny, invited us over for dinner last night. We have often joked that there is nothing that he can't grill, and he really proved that last night by serving us grilled salad! If you've never had grilled salad before, the concept may sound a little strange, but I can assure you that once you try this delicacy and taste how grilling the romaine gives it such a great flavor and texture, you will be wanting to fire up the grill every night! i didn't ask Chris to give away his secret recipe, but here is a great one from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute!
Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Serving Size: ½ head of romaine lettuce with toppings
1 slice whole wheat-bread
2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and halved lengthwise
4 tsp olive oil
4 tsp light Caesar dressing
4 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
16 cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
1 Preheat grill pan on high temperature.
2 Cube the bread. Spread in a single layer on a foil-covered tray for a toaster oven or conventional oven. Toast to a medium-brown color and crunchy texture. Remove. Allow to cool.
3 Brush the cut side of each half of romaine lettuce with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
4 Place cut side down on a grill pan on the stovetop. Cook just until grill marks appear and romaine is heated through, about 2–5 minutes.
Black Jack Tacos Thu, 04/08/2010 - 21:43 - sarah
If you like Mexican food, here is a meatless option that is full of flavor! Black Jack Tacos- Black beans, pepper jack cheese, and topped off with cilantro and a cumin cream! Enjoy!
2 whole wheat tortillas (such as La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Whole Wheat Tortillas, taco size, 50 calories, each)
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
4tbsp. reduced fat pepper cheese, shredded, such as Cabot 50% Reduced-Fat Jalapeno Cheddar
2tbsp. homemade or store bought salsa (either a spicy tomato salsa OR a cool pineapple salsa works great)
2tbsp. cumin cream (see recipe below)
shredded lettuce or cabbage
Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of beans and 2 tbsp. cheese. Heat in a skillet or in the microwave for 1 minute on high or until the tortilla and beans are warm and the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and top each taco with 1 tbsp. salsa and 1 tbsp. cumin cream. Finish by topping each taco with desired amount of shredded lettuce or cabbage and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek style yogurt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. lime juice
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and mixed thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Lemon and Garlic Pasta with Pan-Seared Scallops Mon, 03/29/2010 - 23:10 - sarah
In honor of the last few days of National Nutrition Month. I wanted to give you a recipe for some healthy comfort food. This pasta and scallop dish is easy and fast to make, delicious, and nutritious! Recipe courtesy of Keep the Beat™, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Servings: 4 Serving Size: 4 scallops with 1 cup pasta
1 large lemon, grated for zest (and freshly squeezed for 2 Tbsp lemon juice)
1 Tbsp garlic, minced or pressed (about 2–3 cloves)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided into two 1-Tbsp portions
16 large sea scallops (about 1 lb)
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
8 oz very thin spaghetti (vermicelli or angel hair-bonus points for using whole wheat)!
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1 In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, reduce heat to simmer until you’re ready to cook the pasta (step 5).
2 While the water is heating up, use a grater to take off small peels of the skin of one lemon into a small saucepan. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan and remove pits. Use the back of a large spoon to press the inside of the lemon to extract more juice. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the saucepan. Stir to blend well. Place on stovetop on low heat.
3 Heat a large nonstick pan or grill pan on high temperature until very hot. Sprinkle the scallops with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat well.
Dress for Success! Tue, 01/26/2010 - 23:59 - sarah
Having the right choice of salad dressing can make the difference between a healthy salad and a not-so-healthy one.
As a rule, vinegar-based salad dressings are usually better for you than cream based salad dressings because cream-based salad dressings such as ranch or Caesar often have a high amount of saturated fat. But before you reach for that low-fat dressing, know that it may have up to 500mg of sodium in a single serving!
So what's the best way to have a healthier salad dressing? Make one yourself! Homemade salad dressings are easy to make and very flavorful! Follow this simple recipe below using your favorite oils, vinegars, and herbs to make a tasty and healthy dressing!
Homemade Salad Dressing:
Makes 8 (2tbsp.) servings
10 tbsp. heart healthy oil (such as extra virgin olive oil)
4 tbsp. vinegar (such as red wine vinegar)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (this will help to keep the oil and vinegar from separating)
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
fresh or dried herbs to taste-usually about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried (such as oregano, rosemary, basil)
Shake together in a salad dressing maker or whisk together in a bowl until blended. Serve over your favorite dark leafy greens and enjoy!