Archive for July, 2012

Tiny Seed; Big Benefits

July 31, 2012

Flaxseed has been around for thousands of years, but its assets are just recently becoming known.

These little seeds pack big benefits, including lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing bone loss, promoting weight loss, increasing immunity and fighting cancer.

Flaxseed is high in vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and manganese, as well as the B vitamins.

It is full of fiber and phytochemicals including many powerful antioxidants.

Flaxseed’s inflammation fighting power comes from being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, flaxseed oil has a significantly higher percentage of plant based omega-3’s, called alpha-linoleic acids than walnut or canola oil.

So, how do you add these little wonders into your diet?

Sprinkle toasted flaxseeds on your cereal or oatmeal.

Add them to salads for a nutty crunch.

Sprinkle a little on your fruit and yogurt.

Grind them up and add them to soups, stews and smoothies.

Mix a little ground flaxseed into homemade piecrusts, or breads.

Keep flaxseeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator for best storage, and introduce them into your diet for better health. You might just find you enjoy the added flavor!

photo: Glasshouse Images

One to Watch: Tribune Standard

July 30, 2012

[tribyoōn] A raised platform from which a speaker may address an audience / champion of the people.
[standərd] A level of quality or attainment.

Tribune Standard is a new label that is taking the fashion world by a storm.

The collection strikes a balance between utilitarian design and crafted flourishes with an attention to tailoring, fit and finishing.

We recently sat down with designer/ founder Tawfik Mounayer to discuss his passion for the art of making clothing.

Mounayer was born in Israel and raised in upstate New York. As a young boy, he was fascinated with the power of transformation that clothing had on his mother as she dressed for various occasions. By the age of 11, he knew that fashion was to be a big part of his future.

Drawn to New York, he attended Parson’s School of Design and later went on to work with various companies including Ann Taylor and Liz Claiborne, as well as working closely with mentor Isaac Mizrahi on the successful Target collection.

It was there that Tawfik learned to balance his extraordinary creativity with the needs of the average woman. These business skills have helped him define the look and mission of his collection, Tribune Standard.

The company was founded on the premise of quality and refinement, impeccable details, and a focus on craftsmanship. In a world of fast fashion and celebrity labels, Tribune Standard brings back the fine art of making clothing that originally drew Tawfik to fashion.

Launched nearly one year ago with collaborators Richard Austin and Andrea Caccuro, Tribune Standard has been gaining momentum. Each day brings new milestones of success, ranging from Vogue magazine doing a story on them before the first collection was even shipped, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and getting orders from retailers such as Nordstrom and Shopbop. Mounayer recalls the day that he was inundated with phone calls and emails from friends and relatives who saw talk show host Kelly Ripa wearing a Tribune Standard dress on her television show.

Mounayer and partners have great aspirations for the brand, hoping someday to expand into accessories, menswear and home furnishings, applying the Tribune Standard aesthetic and thoughtfulness of design to all facets of one’s lifestyle.

From the looks of things, Tribune Standard is well on it’s way to becoming synonymous with great American style, and we can’t wait to see more!

photos: courtesy of Tribune Standard

originally published by Fashionista Cafe

The Aisle of Man

July 27, 2012

There is a small supermarket right across the street from where I live, that everyone seems to think is fabulous. I go there when I need something quickly, like when I run out of an ingredient mid-baking. The produce is decent, and they have most items. I just can’t seem to trust them for freshness on things like fish, or prepared foods, and I have had to return cheese a few times due to spoilage. I also find them to be over priced. Yet every time I am in there, I see people I know who went out of their way to shop there. To each their own.

I was surprised to discover that they made marketing news today, by installing a “man aisle” in one of their stores to cater exclusively to male shoppers.  Seriously? Do men need different aisles in the grocery store than women?
Sure, I send a certain someone across the street to grab one item, and he returns 30 minutes later with 3 or 4 bags containing everything you can think of except the one ingredient I asked him to pick up.  He managed to accomplish this without a man aisle, didn’t he?
Worst yet, the “man aisle” features Wheaties, Doritos, beer, barbeque sauce and beef jerky. Does this imply that men have no concept of nutrition what so ever? It also houses razors and condoms and manly deodorant. People are touting the concept as brilliant, but wouldn’t we all be in an uproar if there was a women’s aisle, featuring tampons and ice cream?

Perhaps. But the market is having the last laugh.
Launched yesterday, it has already been restocked.
The chain is looking to roll out the successful concept to 4 other locations in Manhattan and New Jersey.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Power Couples

July 26, 2012

In any great coupling, each partner brings out the best in the other.
This is also true with food. Here a few foods that not only taste delicious, but enhance one another’s health benefits when eaten together:

Steak and rosemary:

The rosmarinic and carnosic acids in rosemary stop the cancer causing heterocyclic amines from forming on grilled meat.

Chop a few sprigs of rosemary and mix with olive oil, salt, ground black pepper, crushed garlic and balsamic vinegar to create a tasty marinade for steak and protect your body from the effects of grilling.

Salmon and Broccoli:

Many fish, such as salmon, are rich in selenium, which protects the thyroid and helps fight cancer.
Broccoli contains sulphoraphane, which makes the cancer fighting power 13 times stronger than if the fish were eaten alone. Mixing a spicy condiment, such as wasabi, can double the cancer fighting properties in the broccoli.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy salmon is to serve it with broccoli and soba noodles, in a brothy sauce made of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and a little sriracha hot sauce. A delicious meal, that wards off cancer!

Red Wine and Almonds:

The resveratrol in red wine and the high vitamin E levels in almonds thin the blood and help improve the flow of the blood vessels.

‘Nuf said.

Tea with Lemon:

The vitamin C in lemon enhances the absorption of catechins, the disease-fighting antioxidant in tea, which also burns fat.  Adding the lemon can enhance the absorption of the catechins by 300%! Try green tea for an extra wallop!

Spinach and Mushrooms:

Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, which helps the calcium in the spinach seep into your body to fortify the bones.

Sauté a diced shallot in a little olive oil and add the mushrooms. Cook until browned and the liquid they give off is absorbed. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Mix until the spinach wilts. Add a squirt of lemon juice before serving and enjoy the flavor while strengthening your skeleton!

Add some of these simple to prepare power couples into your diet and reap the benefits of their relationship!

photos: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Cleaned Up Tacos

July 25, 2012

My family loves tacos. I don’t. I am not a meat eater, and Mexican spices have never been a favorite flavor of mine. The texture of refried beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole dripping down my chin don’t hold any appeal for me either.  I won’t talk about calories here, but seriously, this isn’t usually the diet plate.

I created this super clean, simple version of a taco, which is the way I would want to eat it, IF I wanted to eat it! You can even substitute the beef for mushrooms, and have a great vegetarian version.
They seem to love them, and this unrecipe even sneaks a few vegetables into B’s diet, which is a win all the way!

 

Cleaned Up Tacos:

 

Beef Filling:

Dice 2 garlic cloves and one small shallot.

Spray a large pan with cooking spray, and sauté the garlic and shallot with 1 pound of ground beef (I buy grass fed, organic beef with the lowest available fat content, which is a much healthier alternative to basic grocery store ground chuck).

Season it with a large dollop of ground cumin, some cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Add a little Tabasco sauce if you like it hot. Cook until brown.

Sprinkle the meat mixture with a little cornstarch (a tablespoon or so) and stir to coat. Add a little water (about 1/3 cup), and return it to the stove, mixing it well to be sure that no clumps form. This should form a thick sauce.

Toppings:
Shredded lettuce: Be creative: I used arugula

Chopped avocado

Chopped tomatoes: I used assorted baby heirloom tomatoes cut up

Shredded Jack cheese

If you really love the classic fillings, feel free to add all the goopy accouterments you like. I won’t judge!

 

Assembling:

Heat a whole-wheat tortilla on the gas flame of the stove for just a couple of seconds per side.

Add the meat filling. Top with vegetables and cheese. Fold in the sides, and roll it up.

Eat and enjoy!

Not Tonight Honey, I’m Having a Spa Treatment

July 24, 2012

Sometimes the best beauty treatments can be found in your own kitchen for just a fraction of what a store bought, and often chemical laden version might cost.

Honey helps absorb water and retain moisture in your skin and hair. Mixed with other ingredients found in your kitchen, it is the perfect base for natural beauty aids.

Mix warm olive oil with honey and leave it on your damp hair for 15-30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing it out, to deep condition your tresses.

Add a dollop to your bath, to soften while you soak.

Mix honey with coarse sea salt for a natural and sweet smelling skin exfoliator.

While you are relaxing and enjoying your beauty treatment, sip a little honey, lemon and hot water. Honey raises your insulin level slightly and allows the tryptophan (that substance that makes us sleepy after eating turkey or drinking warm milk) to enter the brain more easily, promoting a good night’s sleep. It is also said to soothe a sore throat, or upset stomach.

Why not make tonight the night to spend enjoying your honey?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Produce De-coded

July 23, 2012

Did you ever wonder what those little stickers on your fruits and vegetables were for? They provide price information, and carry a code which indicates how your produce has been farmed.

Stickers bearing a 4 digit code beginning with a 3 or a 4 means that the produce was conventionally grown, utilizing chemical pesticides.

Stickers with a 5 digit code beginning with the number 8, denotes that the food has been genetically modified, indicating that genes have been manipulated to produce a larger or more colorful fruit or vegetable. They may also have been sprayed with chemical pesticides.

Stickers bearing a 5 digit code beginning with a 9, are placed on organic produce, ensuring that it has not been chemically treated.

The stickers are adhered to the produce with an edible, non-toxic adhesive, although the stickers themselves are not edible.

Always wash your produce well, regardless of how it was grown, and remove the stickers and glue before eating.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Eat Your Vegetables

July 20, 2012

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Union Square Greenmarket.

I tend to go on Saturday mornings, after a particularly grueling cycling class down the street, and pick up whatever strikes my fancy.

While the greenmarket goodies tend to last longer than their supermarket purchased counterparts, fresh produce only lasts so long.

I was thrilled to stumble upon some tips in the New York Times Dining section this week, on how to prolong the freshness of summer’s vegetable bounty.

Here are a few key tricks to preserving the produce of the season:

Greens, like lettuce, are best washed in advance, dried and stored.

Soft herbs such as basil and soft produce such as mushrooms and berries should be washed when used, as the water will speed spoilage. I find that putting basil in a glass of filtered water that comes a few inches up the stems, keeps it fresh for several days. Frequent readers will note that I am also a big proponent of making pesto, and basil oil while it’s still green and “perky”.

Anything that comes in bunches, should be released from it’s binding, as the closer the vegetables are packed, the faster they will rot.

Leafy tops of root vegetables, such as carrots and beets should be trimmed to 1” long to prolong freshness but prevent them from drying out.

Fruits and vegetables should be stored separately, as the ripening fruit emits ethylene, which damages vegetables.

Some produce will continue to ripen on the counter: stone fruits, melons, mangoes, apples, pears, tomatoes and avocados.  Bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries will only deteriorate.

Bananas ripen quickly, and will speed the ripening of anything they are stored with.

If you can, cut and simply cook vegetables, as they will last longer in the refrigerator that way. Prepare them separately, to allow more flexibility in their use.

Intimidated by the skills needed to slice and dice vegetables? Have no fear.

The specialty market Eataly, just north of Union Square employs a fulltime vegetable butcher who will peel and cut your produce to order.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Prison Power

July 19, 2012

The Santa Rita do Sapucai prison in Brazil, is harnessing green energy from their inmates to power their city streets.

Two exercise bikes hooked to batteries have been placed in the penitentiary courtyard, where kinetic energy created by the cyclists is converted into electricity which charges a battery. There is a device on the handlebars which tells the rider when the battery is charged.
These fully charged batteries are taken into the city and used to power street lamps. One day’s cycling can provide enough alternative energy to power 6 bulbs.
As an incentive, the prisoners are given a day off of their sentence for every 16 hours of cycling they complete.
The project has been so successful, that they plan to install another 8 bikes at the facility.
This program offers an opportunity for detainees to stay fit, keep occupied and out of trouble, and provide their community with sustainable energy. Sounds like a winning plan to us!
photo: Glasshouse Images

Herbal Essence

July 18, 2012

Did you know that you could freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil?

The oil not only reduces the browning and freezer burn that can affect delicate herbs, but it also creates a delicious herb infusion that can be used anytime.

According to The Kitchn, it is best to use stronger herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano.

The herbs can be chopped, or left in larger sprigs.

Pack the wells of an ice cube tray about 2/3 full of herbs.

Pour extra virgin olive oil over the herbs.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Remove the herb infused cubes from the tray and store in containers or plastic bags.

Use the cubes as you would olive oil, for sautéing garlic and onions, and enjoy the taste of fresh herbs as they spread throughout your dish.

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