Recipe: Strawberry-Lemon Muffins (Gluten and Dairy-Free)

At 8 o’clock the other night when I was desperately craving cupcakes, I showed great restraint and made a batch of healthy muffins instead.  No, I don’t deserve a medal… I had my fair share of Hagan Daaz over the weekend.  That being said, I do try and keep my indulgent sugary treats to a minimum during the week, pregnant or not.  Lucky for me I had enough ingredients on hand to throw together what I found to be an incredibly delicious, light, moist, and just the right amount of sweet, muffin.   Whether for breakfast or an after-dinner snack, you won’t feel bad biting into this cake-y treat.  And filled with the finest of this season’s strawberries and citrusy lemon, you’ll feel like the warm weather is finally here to stay.

Strawberry-Lemon Muffins (Gluten and Dairy-Free) Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Grass-Fed Steak

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

If you choose to eat meat, eat it wisely.  I stayed away from it for many years as the quality and health of it started to frighten me.  That being said, 6 ½ months pregnant and I crave red meat as if I were a caveman living in the prehistoric ages.  So I’m listening to my body and making educated and healthy decisions as to what red meat I will consume.  As luck would have it there is a small farm in upstate New York that raises high quality, humanely treated animals, delivering their product right to the city.  My current obsession: the grass-fed steaks and ground beef (I mean, who doesn’t love a good cheeseburger every now and then?).

Grass-fed beef comes from cows that have pastured on grass only.  Pure 100 percent grass-fed beef is better for animals, more sustainable, and often more humane.  Grass-fed beef is extremely lean, high in minerals, and considerably lower in saturated fat than industrialized, conventional, corn and grain-fed beef.  And given it’s Continue reading

Recipe: Spicy Chicken and Mango Lettuce Wraps

The springtime produce popping up on the shelves of grocery stores and farmer’s markets is enough to make me happy for days.  Yes, this kind of stuff really does make me happy.  But I digress.  Back to the fresh arugula, ripe strawberries, gorgeous red radishes, and deliciously sweet mangoes…

When I spotted a massive pile of perfectly ripe mangoes at my nearest market this week I knew instantly it was time for a warm weather favorite of mine – chicken and mango lettuce wraps.  Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The All-Natural Nut Butter

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Today’s cooking tip is less for cooking and more for efficiency and ease in the kitchen.

Ever buy a jar of all-natural nut butter (insert your favorite here: peanut, almond, cashew, etc.) just to find a puddle of oil sitting on the top?  All-natural nut butters will separate if made with only the nut, creating the oil to rise to the top and require continual stirring with each use – all too often creating sore biceps and a mess of oil spilling over the sides.  While indeed a nuisance, this is actually a good thing, because unlike those no-stir varieties, all-natural nut butters do not have added sugars, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and goodness knows what else mixed in there to stabilize them.  More good news, for you and your arm, you don’t have to sacrifice that creamy spreadable no-stir texture by Continue reading

Food Labeling Misconception #4: Healthy Claims

Although food labels are meant to accurately tell us what’s in the package we’re buying, marketers have devised a clever little system to make foods sound more healthful than they really are.  More specifically, a food item can claim any number of vague health statements that may or may not be scientifically valid.  There’s been a recent trend in products suggesting that they can boost immunity or defend against illness – but there’s typically little or no evidence backing up such claims.  This rather large white lie is permitted because of the lack of regulation regarding labeling rules. Continue reading

Friday Roundup: Week of 3.31.12 – 4.6.12

Welcome to the Friday Roundup – a little something new I’d like to present every Friday highlighting the links that were hot, and not so hot, in the world of food, health, and nutrition news.

This week we saw even more reasons to increase red wine consumption, avoid added sugars, question poultry, and perhaps steer clear of the next centurion bike race.  And that’s just the beginning.  Here’s to a fascinating and thought-provoking week in the media that (thankfully) doesn’t involve a Kardashian.

Can Bicycling Affect A Woman’s Sexual Health – We’ve all heard about what cycling can do to men, but check out this new study on the affects for women.  Sorry all you spinners out there.  (NY Times) Continue reading

Recipe: Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata

Looking for a quick and simple way to whip up a delicious breakfast or brunch this weekend?  Serve these adorable frittatas for 1.  Here I’ve paired it with asparagus and goat cheese, but you can easily substitute with any combination of cheese and vegetables.  Some of my favorites include smoked mozzarella with spinach and roasted red peppers, mushrooms with gruyere, cheddar with tomato and fresh herbs or smoked salmon with crème fraiche.  Serve with a green salad and rustic multigrain toast and you’ll have the perfect, healthy meal with less than 500 calories and over 20 grams of protein per serving.

Recipe: Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Flavor Profile

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Understanding how the flavors of a dish work together is a key component to cooking intuitively and without recipes.  This understanding wouldn’t be possible without first identifying how flavor profiles work.  A flavor profile is a sensory evaluation performed to determine the overall taste and odor characteristics of a food.  The primary flavors are: Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and the recently added, Savory or “Umami”.  These five flavors are the only ones we can taste with our mouth.  All other flavors are actually scents. The balance of these five basic flavors and how they relate to each other is the “flavor profile” of the item.  As you cook and taste, think about each of these components and how they work with each other.  Continue reading

The Fruits and Vegetables of Spring 2012

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens

Spring has officially arrived, and with warmer weather and longer days comes a bright new crop of fresh fruits and vegetables.  So why not ‘spring clean’ your diet, lose the heavy fare of fall and winter, and load up with the deliciously light bounty of spring.  Shopping the best of what’s in-season will not only provide the most nutritional value, it will also provide the best flavor and value.  Here’s what to look for on the produce aisle or at the local farmers’ market.  Continue reading

Recipe: Apple-Walnut Kale Salad

A healthier version of the classic Waldorf salad, here I’ve swapped out lettuce for nutrient-dense kale and created a creamy dressing without mayonnaise, oil, or dairy by using apple and walnuts as the base.  This salad is sweet, crunchy, filling, and will convert even the greatest of kale non-believers.  Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and healthy unsaturated fats, it’s perfect for lunch, brunch, or a light dinner. Continue reading