Culinary School: Beans, Beans, Beans!


We’re all about beans right now! The legume family has over 15,000 species including beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. Rich in fiber and protein and low on the glycemic index, beans are excellent for blood sugar and weight management and are a budget-friendly protein source. Further, their somewhat neutral flavor makes them a versatile kitchen staple. So, while beans are a key player in my kitchen, I was excited to expand my bean know-how.

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How to Make Refrigerator Tea

Refrigerator Brewed Herbal Tea

Don’t say goodby to sun tea simply because summer is ending. Make refrigerator tea instead! Refrigerator tea is just as easy and an arguably safer way to enjoy your favorite cold teas year-round and at a fraction of the cost of bottled beverages. I’m hooked on the organic Hibiscus High Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. The vibrant color and floral fragrance make it a treat for the eyes, nose and taste buds.

Is Sun Tea Safe?
Sun tea can be made safely. However, precautions must be taken to avoid growth of bacteria in the tea or those commonly found in water, such as Alcaligenes viscolactis. To ensure proper food safety, the water needs to either be heated to 195° for three to five minutes or kept at 40° or lower. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the sun’s rays used to steep tea in a jar won’t heat the water hotter than 130° Fahrenheit.

How to Make Refrigerator Tea
Making refrigerator tea is the same as making regular tea, but with cold water and with a longer steeping time. Into a glass container, add about 1 tablespoon of dried tea per quart of water. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Then, strain and serve straight up or over ice.

You can bump up the flavor and health benefits by getting creative with your cubes. For example, consider adding ginger juice cubes or turmeric ice cubes for an immune and anti-inflammatory benefit. No subtlety here. Pun intended!

Rose Mountain Herbs Tea

Add tea to a glass jar full of filtered water.

Sun Tea Brewing

Place the container in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Steeping time will vary with different teas and the tea to water ratio. Then, strain and serve.

Culinary School: Month 1

NGI Month #1

One month down, quite a few to go -which is a good thing! Aside from the necessity of a day job, there are several advantages to going to culinary school part-time rather than full-time. The most obvious advantage is having time between classes to practice knife skills and cooking techniques. But, I think the advantage we appreciate most is the opportunity to learn and cook through all four seasons.

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Raw Avocado Green Soup


Blended Green Soup

I’ve never, not once, considered ordering a cold soup off a menu, much less making one at home. In a word, they seemed B-o-r-i-n-g. Note the capital ‘B’? How could a cold soup possibly be satisfying? Gazpacho gets a pass once a year. Otherwise, not part of my cooking / dining repertoire. Next! Continue reading “Raw Avocado Green Soup” »

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.

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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