Archive for July, 2013

Wine and Workouts

July 31, 2013

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Could that glass of red wine negate the effects of your workout? A new study suggests that it might be.

Red wine, touted for its antioxidant powers from resveratrol, is thought to have a positive effect on cardiac health. A study published in the Journal of Physiology followed 27 men over the age of 65. All followed an intense workout regimen, but half of the men were given a resveratrol supplement, while the others received a placebo. The placebo recipients were found to have lower body fat, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than the resveratrol users. This contradicts the findings in previous studies, which linked the antioxidant to improved heart health.

“We were surprised to find that resveratrol supplementation in aged men blunts the positive effects of exercise training on cardiovascular health parameters, in part because our results contradict findings in animal studies,” said Dr. Ylva Hellsten, the leader of the project, in a statement.

The caveat to the study is that the dose of resveratrol was 100 times higher than what is found in a glass of red wine.

So until further notice, keep working out hard, and enjoy your wine in moderation.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Measuring Dry Ingredients

July 30, 2013

Here at Indigo Jones, we are big on the “unrecipe.” When cooking, we like to be flexible and use instinct to get the right amount of flavor to suit our palate. Baking is another story. Being casual with measurements can prove catastrophic.

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When measuring dry ingredients, such as flour for baking, it is important to be consistent, to get consistent results.

We like to use the fluff, stuff and level method:
Fluff up the flour, scoop it into a measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. It’s easy, and effective.

Other ingredients, such as brown sugar need to be packed firmly into the cup when measuring, to ensure the correct amount.

Using these techniques will help ensure perfect baked goods every time!

photo: Glasshouse Images 

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Unrecipe of the Week: Accordion Potatoes

July 29, 2013

For awhile, it seemed like we were bombarded with photos of beautiful accordion-like potatoes, often referred to as Hasselback Potatoes, in honor of the Swedish restaurant The Hasselbacken, which created them. Tonight, I thought I would give them a try, as the accompaniment to a rack of lamb.

I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, but any kind will do.

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Peel the potatoes. (confession: I didn’t.) Cut small slits into the potato, leaving it still attached at the bottom. You can place chopsticks on the cutting board on both sides of the potato to stop the blade of the knife from going all the way through. Be sure to cut deeply enough, or the potato will not fan open while baking.

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Brush the potato liberally with melted butter or olive oil, allowing it to seep between the cut. Sprinkle it with coarse salt and any other seasonings you wish to use. Place the potatoes in a greased  pan, cover with foil and bake in a hot, 400 degree oven for about 30  minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Uncover, and brush with more butter or oil, and cook another 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Enjoy!

Some recipes call for cheese, garlic, or any other topping that catches your fancy. If you are using cheese, add it to the last 15 minutes of roasting.

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Pop Tart Sandwich

July 26, 2013

carls-jr-pop-tarts-ice-cream-sandwich-delicious-unhealthy__oPtCarl’s Jr. has introduced a new dessert into it’s lineup: a strawberry Pop Tart ice cream sandwich.

Yep, it’s 2 Pop Tarts with ice cream inside. All for only $1.49, or free with the purchase of a Super Bacon Cheeseburger.

The Super Bacon Cheeseburger contains 830 calories, 52 grams of fat,and consists of a burger with six strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion on a bun. At only 320 calories, the Pop Tart dessert seems like a dietetic bargain.

Electrocardiogram not included.

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Eat for Performance

July 25, 2013

If you work out hard, chances are you get sore. What you eat to fuel your workout is as important as the exercise routine itself. Here are a few healthy foods that aid in muscle recovery and help ease those aches.

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Cherries are in season, and you no longer need a mortgage to buy them! (They were $12.99 a pound in early June in New York City, down to $4.99 today!!!)

Studies have shown that tart cherry juice can help athletes recover more quickly from their workouts, due to anti-inflammatory properties that block the enzyme linked to muscle soreness. Enjoy these tiny red fruits as a post workout snack, but watch out for the pits!

Multicolored tomatoes

Tomatoes are also at their peak right now, and the Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores are filled with all kinds of ripe, delicious tomatoes in all sizes and hues.

A study has shown that athletes recovered faster when they drank tomato juice before and after their workouts, than when they fueled up with carbs. Tomatoes also have a high water content, and are filled with potassium, which helps replenish the electrolytes lost from sweating. It is also thought that the antioxidants in tomatoes soothe inflammation and hastens muscle recovery.

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Beets are another favorite, and they are full of natural nitrates that raise the nitric acid level in the body, improving blood flow. Studies were done using beet juice, but  eating beets can also be helpful.

Try adding roasted beets to your salad, tart cherries to your Greek yogurt and tomatoes to just about anything for better workout results.

photos: glasshouse images

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Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Hulling Strawberries

July 23, 2013

This time of year, strawberries are abundant. Hulling them, is not a fun task. I confess most of the time, I just hack the green tops off and go,creating a lot of waste, and a less than beautiful berry.

Now that I have discovered this little trick, they will be perfectly hulled from now on.

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How to Hull a Strawberry:

Insert a plastic straw into the bottom of the strawberry and gently push it through, causing the white hull and the green top to pop right off. How easy is that?
I can’t wait to try it out on my next batch of berries!

Photos: Strawberry tops: indigo jones

3 berries: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Balsamic Marinade

July 22, 2013

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It’s grilling season, and marinades help lock in moisture and add flavor to foods.

Whether you are tossing meat, chicken or vegetables on the barbeque, or cooking in the oven, this unrecipe will become a staple in your repertoire.

Balsamic Marinade:

Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, juice of 2 lemons, ½ cup olive oil, a big dollop or two of Dijon mustard, a couple of minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend. Pour over meat or chicken and allow it to marinate for several hours or overnight. Vegetables should be marinated for a very short time, to avoid getting soggy.

Kitchen tip:

Never pour leftover marinade that the raw meat has been soaking in over cooked food. Once the food has been put on the grill, use a clean plate to remove it to avoid contamination.

Bringing the leftover marinade to a full boil for a couple of minutes will kill any bacteria and allow the sauce to be safely used. Cooking it for 5 or 10 minutes will allow the liquid to reduce, and give you a slightly thicker consistency for a finishing sauce.

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photo: Glasshouse Images

 

Hit the Fan

July 18, 2013

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Mosquitoes love me. They adore Bailey; Spencer, not so much. It seems that balmy evenings outdoors can be hindered for some of us by the sharp fangs of a tiny little bug.

Today’s Science section of the New York Times related a story about a lovely backyard barbecue, sans mosquitoes, and harmful chemicals.

The hosts placed an oscillating fan on the table, which kept the bugs at bay.

The Mosquito Control Association ( yes, that really exists!) claims that the little insects are weak, slow fliers, and the added wind from the fan is a deterrent. It also speculates that the fan blows away the human emanations that the female mosquitoes zero in on. It seems that only the females bite, using our blood for their eggs.

Whatever the reason, if this low tech, natural remedy works, we are all in.

Give it a try at your next outdoor event, and let us know how it works.

photo: glasshouse images

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Here Comes the Sun

July 17, 2013

It’s hot here in New York City, and the blazing sun beating down on us during our walk to work isn’t doing us any favors.  Slathering on the sun block ( and deodorant!) and donning a hat are good habits, but a recent article from the Greatist suggests that what you eat can provide some serious protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

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Salmon and other foods rich in omega- 3 fatty acids, can protect the skin from free radical damage, and have been shown to prevent some types of skin cancers.

Cacao Beans with Chocolate Pieces

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which help guard against UV rays. They also keep the skin hydrated and boost blood flow. While chocolate and bikinis seem a bit counterintuitive, a little of this delicious treat could help prevent sunburn.

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Leafy greens and herbs are packed with antioxidants that protect the skin. Studies have shown that eating dark leafy greens can stave off the reappearance of skin cancer.

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Red and yellow vegetables, such as bell peppers, tomatoes and carrots, are skin protecting super foods. Lycopene and carotenoids are the compounds to thank for reduced reactions to sunburn, and other skin irritations.

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Cruciferous vegetables are also packed with the ability to fight free radicals. Eat your broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels spouts to ward off cancer.

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Top your healthy meal off with a cup of tea. Both green and black tea are strong cancer fighters and one study claims that just one cup of tea per day can lower the incidence of melanoma.

Why not include these foods in your diet on a regular basis? In addition to their skin protecting powers, they all play roles in a healthy, balanced diet.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Rescue a Burning Sauce

July 16, 2013

Serving Spoons Hanging over Stovetop

It happens to the best of us: we walk away from a slow cooking sauce , and before we know it, we smell something burning. Don’t panic; that chili or pasta sauce is still salvageable!

Resist the temptation to stir it, and quickly remove it from the heat. Pour the sauce into a clean pot, leaving the burnt part behind. The food will not have picked up the burned flavor and will continue to cook as if nothing ever happened.

photo: glasshouse images

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