Me in My Birthday Suit

This is a PG-rated post. I swear.

This month, I started waking up at 7AM every Saturday. I need to allow an hour to get to the Flatiron area of Manhattan, normally a 30 minutes trip. But, Saturdays and the MTA subway don’t always play nice together. Nine hours later I return home, tired and often sweaty. But, even on a recent Saturday, my birthday, I had no complaints. In fact, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m fulfilling a dream, one dormant for decades. I’ve started culinary school.

Continue reading “Me in My Birthday Suit” »

Turmeric – What YOU need to know

Follow this blog for any period and you will likely notice my affinity for turmeric. The more I study nutritional science, alternative medicine and culinary nutrition, the more fascinated I become with the spice known as ‘Indian Gold’.

Over the past several years, I’ve researched and experimented with ways to assimilate turmeric into my daily routine. The spice also inspired my first article for a professional publication. ‘Three Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric’ was accepted by ‘The Integrative RD’, the newsletter of the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine.  Continue reading “Turmeric – What YOU need to know” »

Zucchini Pesto Noodles

Zucchini Noodles

My first effort with zucchini noodles was a fail and it had nothing to do with not having a spiralizer. The first time I made them, I sautéed them with pesto. By the time I sat down with my plate, the noodles were a lukewarm and slightly watery pile. Note to self: the best way to eat zucchini noodles is cold. Continue reading “Zucchini Pesto Noodles” »

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic Cashew Sauce

Roasted Broccoli

When I’m near Union Square and want a quick bite, I think Maoz. This international chain  is known for fast and affordable vegetarian mediterranean food, especially its signature falafel (gluten-free!) and flavorful sauces.

I love the falafel and salads. But, it’s the broccoli I save room for as I fill my self-serve bowl, then those the lid -with florets bulging at the edges. Yep. I was ‘that customer’. That is, until I was told “the broccoli won’t be ready for a few minutes”.  Then, I saw an employee dump broccoli into the serving container from a large basket. It was one of those tell-tale baskets which screams ‘deep-fryer’. Technically, according to the employee, it was ‘flash-fried’. Continue reading “Roasted Broccoli with Garlic Cashew Sauce” »

Cacao Fudgsicles

Healthy FudgsiclesIt’s not summer without the occasional nostalgic, cool treat. Fudgsicles were a childhood favorite of mine. There was something about the way they slowly morphed from a frozen solid into creamy, chocolate pudding. Unfortunately, three of the top six ingredients in those fudgsicles are sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Keep reading the label and you will find other goodies, such as cellulose gum and polysorbate 80. Continue reading “Cacao Fudgsicles” »

Did Your Father’s Waistline Influence Your Own?

Fathers' Influence on Child's Obesity Risk

Photo Credit:Sukanto Debnath

Growing up, most people can’t help but look to their parents’ physiology as a contributor of their current as well as a possible future physique. But, it seems that parents, specifically the father, may influence a child’s risk of obesity beyond genetic inheritance.

A study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics investigated the relationship of body mass index (BMI), diet quality and physical activity level between 150 fathers and their preschool-aged children (3 to 5 years of age).

To be eligible, the biological fathers had to eat at least one meal per week with their child. Research dietitians interviewed the fathers and assessed their dietary and physical activity. The researchers also measured the height and weight of both the father and child and calculated BMIs, adjusting the children’s BMIs for age.

The study results showed a positive relationship between father-child weight status, overall diet quality and physical activity. These results suggest that fathers may have an influential role in preventing obesity and helping form healthy lifestyle habits very early in the lives of their children.

Source: Investigating the Relationship of Body Mass Index, Diet Quality, and Physical Activity Level between Fathers and Their Preschool-Aged Children R. Vollmer, K. Adamson, A. Gorin, J. Foster, A. Mobley

Chipotle Coleslaw

Chipotle Coleslaw

This dish is all about the creamy chipotle avocado dressing. Combine silky avocado, zesty lemon and the smoky kick of chipotle pepper. You won’t miss the mayo!

Customize the vegetable and fruit blend to make it your own. Savoy cabbage is particularly good for slaw salads. Savoy cabbage is more tender and less bitter than the green or red cabbage typically used for coleslaw. As such, there’s no need to salt it before serving it uncooked. Dice, grate, slice…it really doesn’t matter much. But, keep the produce sections thin to ease even dressing coverage. Customize the volume as you like. But, who doesn’t like having a salad ready to go in the fridge? Chop now and be veggie-ready for days!

Continue reading “Chipotle Coleslaw” »

How to Make Vegan Avocado Pesto

Vegan Avocado Pesto

Pesto adds flavor and texture to nearly any meal, from scrambled eggs, soups, salad dressings, pizza, and of course, pasta. While traditionally made with cheese, it is simple to make a dairy-free pesto. Simply replace the cheese with a perfectly ripe avocado. By doing so, you replace saturated fat with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. The result is a very silky, fiber-rich and low-glycemic index sauce which is arguably just as tastey as the traditional cheese version. Continue reading “How to Make Vegan Avocado Pesto” »

Paleo Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Sweet Potato

Grain-Free Cauliflower Sweet Potato CrustThis grain-free pizza crust recipe is cauliflower-based with some sweet potato, which lends a slight sweetness and softness to each bite. Almond meal replaces grain flour and flax-seed gel serves as a binder. The result is a delicious grain-free pizza with slices you can pick up without it falling into pieces…unlike several of the recipes I tried.

A crust without flour is simple, but requires a little more attention to detail. First, it is necessary to squeeze the excess water out of the steamed cauliflower to avoid a dreaded soggy crust. Cutting or breaking the florets into the smaller, bite-size pieces will ease this process. Only the cauliflower needs wringing, but if you find it easier to drop everything into the towel, including the sweet potato, that will work as well. Don’t worry about getting the last drop, but put a little muscle into it!

Next, if you want to eat the pizza by the slice -with your hands, instead of scraping it off the pan with a fork (this has happened) you will need to flip the pizza half-way through the cooking process. I thought this seemed like a bigger hassle than it really is. Simply make sure you have your second sheet of parchment paper and a cutting board (at least the size of the baking pan) ready to go. Pull the pan out of the oven, place the second piece of parchment over the crust, place the cutting board on the top, then flip it, slide the parchment and crust back to the pan and place it back in the oven. You’re good to go.

Finally, if you want your crust to be a perfect circle fitting perfectly on your baking sheet, one pound (before steaming) of combined vegetables seems to be about the right quantity. And, to eliminate the guess-work about crust size, I recommend placing your first piece of parchment paper into your baking sheet, then making crease marks at the edges to use as a guide when spreading the ‘dough’.

GRAIN-FREE CAULIFLOWER SWEET POTATO PIZZA CRUST

Inspired by Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD
Yield: One 10-inch pizza (2-4 servings)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • Food processor or high-speed blender
  • Sauce pan and steamer basket
  • Baking sheet
  • Cutting board
  • 2 pieces of parchment paper, size of the baking sheet

Grain Free Vegan Cauliflower Sweet Potato Crust

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 medium head cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets (up to 4 cups).
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, unpeeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons whole flax seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon dried italian herbs or oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided (some for the crust and some for the vegetables)
  • 3 tablespoon coconut or olive oil for greasing the baking sheet and sautéing vegetables
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake (or cremini) mushrooms, 4-6
  • 1/3-1/2 pesto (regular or dairy-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (optional)

CAULIFLOWER AND SWEET POTATO CRUST DIRECTIONS:

Flax Egg Mixture

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Place your baking sheet in the oven.
  3. Combine the water and ground flax-seed. Stir intermittently until it forms a gel, about the time it takes to steam the vegetables.
  4. Place a steamer basket inside of a saucepan or stock pot with a few inches of water.
  5. Place chopped sweet potato and cauliflower florets into the steamer.
  6. Steam vegetables until both are easily pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes.
  7. Wrap the cauliflower into a tea towel, twist it and press firmly to wring out as much of the excess water as you can.
  8. Transfer the steamed vegetables to a food processor or high-speed blender.
  9. Add the flax gel, almond meal, Italian herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Blend until smooth. The ‘dough’ will not be like regular pizza dough. It will be fairly wet.
  10. Lightly grease one piece of parchment paper. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the center of the paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread the dough out from the center until it is evenly about 1/8th inch thick, but no less.
  11. Remove the baking pan from the oven.
  12. Transfer the crust and parchment paper to the baking pan.
  13. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  14. While the crust bakes, sauté vegetables toppings (see Vegetable Directions below)
  15. After 20 minutes. remove the pan from the oven. Place the other piece of parchment paper on top of the crust. Placing a cutting board on top, flip the crust, then slide the crust back to the baking sheet.
  16. Bake for another 20 minutes, until the top appears dry and slightly toasted.
  17. Remove the pan from the oven. If possible, slide the crust and parchment paper to a cooling rack. Let the crust rest for at least 5 minutes to release steam.
  18. Assemble the pizza per below, or as desired.

Pizza Vegetables

VEGETABLE DIRECTIONS AND PIZZA ASSEMBLY:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Saute until softened, between 2-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the onions from pan and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and allow it to heat up.
  6. Add mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle lightly with some of the remaining salt and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and slightly browned.
  7. Spread the pesto evenly over the pizza crust.
  8. Spread the sautéed onions, then the mushrooms and red chili peppers (optional) over the pizza crust.
  9. If topping the pizza with cheese, turn on the broiler and place the crust under the broiler for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Otherwise, place back into the 400º to rewarm for 5 minutes.
  10. Slice and serve!

Grain-Free Cauliflower Sweet Potato Slices

 

 

NUTRITION NOTE – GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR CAULIFLOWER:

To get the full nutritional benefits of cauliflower, chop it up at least 40 minutes before cooking. This is enough time for the chemical reaction to take place which produces sulforophane, the compound most responsible for cauliflower’s health benefits. This reaction won’t happen if the cauliflower is heated immediately after being broken apart by hand or cut by knife.

More: How Get the Benefits of Raw Cruciferous Vegetables – When Cooked!

Have you tried cauliflower pizza crusts? Willing to try this one? Please leave a comment below!

Summer Recipe Make-Over Time!

Summer Recipe MakeoverIt’s not quite summer yet, but the Farmer’s Markets are once again lively. A round of applause, please! I’m looking forward to making my favorite summer recipes. But, I want to know which seasonal foods do you want to learn more about? Do you have a summer recipe for which you would like to give a health make-over? Lighter, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, add nutrients -all of the above? Let me help!

If you would like your recipe to be considered for a make-over, provide the following in the comments:

  • Name of the recipe or a description of the kind of healthy recipe you want.
  • The actual recipe (if you have a specific one you want to give a health make-over). A website link or attachment in an email is fine.
  • What you like about the recipe? If there is a reason it is special to you, I’d love to hear the story!
  • What would you like to change to make it healthier or suit your dietary restrictions?

That’s it! I hope to hear from you whether it is a recipe make-over request or questions about the nutritional aspects of or how to prepare any specific seasonal produce.

Cheers,

Maribeth