Archive for September, 2015

The Next Big Trend in Water is Green

September 30, 2015

Water has been become a trendy drink these days. Bottled waters from streams far and wide started the trend, followed by vitamin infused waters. Coconut water took the stage for awhile, for it’s supposedly stellar hydrating properties.Juice bars now sell the popular Master Cleanse concoction of water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for about $9 a bottle. On Monday,Twitter was filled with jokes about only drinking water from Mars in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 4.11.19 PM

Today’s “next big thing” in the water-verse, is chlorophyll water. Popping up at juice bars all over town, this emerald green bottled water is touted as increasing energy, improving digestion and neutralizing toxins in the body. Now scientists are claiming that chlorophyll water actually helps control hunger.

Studies show that adding cholorphyll compounds to high fat meals reduced appetite, controlled blood sugar and therefore aided weight loss.

d8c34cb8_3609_49b5_8a45_5e0e5aea36a8 copy

Chlorophyll, which is derived from marine plants, has been around for about 50 years and has been shown to be non-toxic. The reported side effects from consuming high levels of the compound are greenish tinged body waste, and increased susceptibility to sunburn.

 

You can purchase the water from juice bars and trendy health food emporiums, or simply add a few drops of chlorophyll from the vitamin shop to your own water for the same benefits.

Photos: top: via Twitter | bottom: via Pressed Juicery 

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Advertisements

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Egg Substitutes

September 29, 2015

1675600050_comp

Many baked goods recipes call for eggs, but if you are baking for a vegan, or someone with an egg allergy, it is still possible to make sweet treats without them. Three common substitutes for eggs are mashed bananas, a flaxseed and water paste, or aquafaba, which is the water from a can of chickpeas.
All three have their place in recipes, as the reaction, or flavor may effect the outcome.

4093601582_comp

Bananas: Use 1/4 cup of mashed bananas for every egg called for.

This can be helpful when making baked goods such as muffins or coffee cakes where the banana flavor is a nice addition. It will yield dense, moist baked goods, but if the banana taste is a deal breaker, this will not be the option for you.

8147100081_comp

Flaxseed Paste: For every egg called for, mix 1 tablespoon of ground golden flaxseed or flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken.

Flaxseed is often listed in vegan recipes as an egg substitute, and the flavor is pretty much undetactable. It will not react exactly like an egg and the end result might not be as pretty as you would like. It will be tasty and is a good solid option for eggless baking if taste trumps texture and beauty.

4093601588_comp

Aquafaba: For every egg needed, add 3 tablespoons of the water from canned, unsalted chickpeas, known as aquafaba.

Lately, aquafaba has been popping up more and more in articles and on websites. Quite honestly, I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago, but it may factor into my baking soon, so I can provide vegan options on Indigo Jones Eats. The water from the chickpeas has many egg-like properties, from being protein rich to having that slightly slimy, runny texture of an eggwhite. It also has emulsifying and leavening properties making it a great choice for eggless baking. Those who have used it report that it reacts very much like an egg, yielding lighter,evenly colored baked goods that rise properly. The best part? No bean flavor is detectable.

While all of these are great substitutes for eggs in many baked items, we would caution against using them for things like souffles, where the eggwhites are key players, although we have seen recipes using aquafaba successfully to make meringues. Aquafaba has become so popular that it even has its own website. We also love that it cuts down on food waste, as it is a product that usually gets rinsed off and thrown away when we eat beans.

If you want to go vegan in the kitchen, try to experiment with some of these options until you find the right one for your recipe, and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Unrecipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Shoestrings

September 28, 2015

 

4270200258_compTraditionally brought out for Thanksgiving and slathered in sweet syrup and topped with marshmallows, sweet potatoes are among the most misunderstood foods around. It is time to challenge their reputation as an overly sweet and decadent side dish, and start to enjoy them in a purer form.

Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins A and C, potassium and calcium. They are good source of iron, magnesium, and carotenoids. Baked, roasted or mashed, they are healthy and delicious additions to a meal. Many low carb diets allow sweet potatoes,

Lately, we have been spiralizing them into long skinny shoestrings, tossing them lightly in olive oil and seasalt and popping them in the oven. The result is a combination of crunchy and soft, sweet and salty. For about 140 calories per 1 1/2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes, you can reap the benefits guilt free.

Shoestring Sweet Potatoes:
Scrub a sweet potato and cut the ends off so that there are two flat sides to insert into the spiralizer. If the potato is very long, cut it in half. Spiralize the potato, skin and all. Toss the shoestrings in a little olive or coconut oil, and sprinkle them with coarse salt. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, and then check to make sure that the edges are not starting to burn. Toss them, or rotate the pan and continue cooking until they are crisp around the edges, and fully cooked, about 20-25 minutes total, depending on how many potatoes you use. I find one good sized potato can easily feed two people when spiralized. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler, but honestly, we think its just too much trouble! You can alternatively cut the potato into long chunks, like big french fries, and roast them a little longer (25-30 minutes) until they are soft inside, and crispy outside.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Pichuberries

September 24, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.18.35 PM

Last week I was on the hunt for fresh fruit to decorate the three tiered tart I was making for a photoshoot. I visited the Union Square Greenmarket and my favorite fresh produce shop in Chelsea Market, who often carry a unique selection of fruits and vegetables. The goal was to find fruit that was not only appropriate in scale, but also in color scheme. I wanted to stay somewhat neutral in palette, with soft greens and pale oranges being the focus.
I saw these unusual berries when I walked into the store, and knew they would be the perfect compliment to the green champagne grapes, mini seckle pears, and tiny apricots that I was using. What I didn’t know, was that they are a nutritional powerhouse, primed to emerge as the next super fruit in our arsenal of healthy foods.

What were these called? Pichuberries!

These tiny, waxy berries grow inside husks like tomatillos do. The fruit is sweet and juicy with a tart aftertaste. They orginated in Peru, and are grown commercially in Columbia.

Pichuberries have a low glycemic index, and are high in antioxidents, minerals and protein. The fruit is also a good source of vitamins A, E, D, P and  B complex vitamins B1, B12 and B6. Just 3 oz. of pichuberries can provide 39% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D. They also contain a compound called withanolides, which are associated with inhibiting cancer cell growth, and reducing inflammation.

The list of health benefits is so long, that the pichubery has its own website, where you can learn more about it.

Move over acai, these little guys are coming for you!

Photos courtesty of pichuberry.com

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Wear It Now: Tied Trousers

September 23, 2015

High waisted pants with tied self fabric sashes are making their way down the catwalks for spring 2016. Many are cropped, and most are voluminously cut. The good news, is that this look is already appearing in your favorite high street stores right now. Not only can you adopt the trend early, you can also be sure that it isn’t a flash in the pan that will look dated next season.

Here is a roundup of a few of our favorite runway looks, and a couple that you can buy right this minute, ’cause we know you’re trendy like that:

Phillip Lim showed paper bag waisted trousers for Spring, worn with a bandeau top and sporty jacket.

Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim

It girl favorite Tibi worked the look into a white skirt.

Tibi

Tibi

Club Monaco is ahead of the game with these transitional cropped trousers that are in the store now.

Club Monaco

Club Monaco

Milly is on point, with fluid, wide leg trousers with a sashed waist treatment shown with another hot trend for spring, the shoulder baring top.

Milly

Milly

Head to toe cream from Opening Ceremony.

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony

Pleated and cropped in olive from Creatures of Comfort

Creatures of Comfort

Creatures of Comfort

Zara never misses a trick and this time is no different. Start the fall season off with a charcoal grey cropped version available now.

Zara

Zara

Runway photos: Vogue Runway

Club Monaco and Zara photos from their websites.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cutting Through Squash

September 22, 2015

4552300496_comp

Fall is squash season. Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash are just a few of the wonderful vegetables from the gourd family. Once roasted, or baked, the flesh becomes tender and delicious. Before cooking, they can be hard as a rock and nearly impossible to cut through. Rather than risk losing a limb while hacking at a roley poley squash with a large, sharp knife, we suggest softening it in the microwave first.

Rinse the outside of the squash to get the dirt off before cutting into it. Pierce the skin of the squash in multiple places with a fork or the tip of a knife.  Microwave it for a couple of minutes, until it is just soft enough to cut through. Don’t leave it in long enough to start cooking; just cook it for enough time to make the flesh a bit more pliable. Although time varies based on the size of the squash and the strength of the microwave, 3-4 minutes is a good estimate. This can also be done in the oven, and will take about 15 minutes to soften. Place it on a baking pan so the juices that release won’t mess up the oven.

Remove it from the microwave, and carefully slice it in half. It will be hot! Scoop out the seeds from the cavity of the squash and discard. Peel or cook according to your recipe and enjoy!

Bonus tip: Try this before carving your Halloween pumpkin. It will make the job much easier and more precise!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

How To Read A Nutrition Label

September 21, 2015

 

4330300169_comp

Many of us know it is prudent to read nutrition labels to see what exactly our packaged foods consist of. Very few of us really know what all those numbers, percentages and descriptions really mean for our health.

Here is a comprehensive guide to deciphering those labels and why it is important to do so:

Serving size: This denotes how many servings the package contains, according to the manufacturer.  This number can be very decieving, since the entire contents may be easily consumed in one sitting by yourself, yet the package lists it as 3 servings. The FDA sets the serving sizes. All of the information listed on the label refers to one single serving. If you eat the whole package, you must multiply the calories and fat by the amount listed. For example, a bag of potato chips states one serving as 1 oz. and lists the servings per container as 14. If you can get 14 servings from one bag of chips, congratulations! You have amazing will power. For the rest of us, get out your calculator and start multiplying.

Percentage of Daily Value: This is calculated based on someone who eats 2000 calories per day as their normal diet. For most women, this is more than they need to maintain a healthy weight. For highly active women, and many men, this may not be enough. Take this number with a grain of salt, (something we will discuss later in this post.)

Fats: Recent research points out that eating fat doesn’t make us fat. In fact, we need fat in our diet for optimum wellness. Certain vitamins are fat soluable, meaning they need to dissolve in fat to be carried through the body. They also help us maintain our body temperature, and provide insulation for our organs. That said, there are many different types of fat, and choosing the right type is critical to our health. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products, and are known to raise cholesterol, and could also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are mostly made from processing oils using a method called partially hydrogenating. This makes them more shelf stable, but it also makes them artery cloggers. Trans fats are also attributed to an increase in unhealthy LDL cholesterol, and lower the more desirable HDL cholestoral. Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Better choices are unsaturated fats, which include many liquid oils, such as olive oil, safflower oil or corn oil. Many fish are also high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plant based sources of fat, including nuts and seeds and avocado are also good for providing protection to your heart and lower blood pressure. If the label lists a high level of saturated fats, partially hydrogenated oils, or any trans fats, it is best to put it back on the shelf and explore other choices.

Beware of labels that boast “fat free.” Generally speaking, when the fat is removed, it is replaced by something else, often sugar. Fat free doesn’t equate to calorie free. Just sayin’.

Sodium: Sodium = salt. Pure and simple. It makes our food taste great, but it also raises blood pressure when consumed in high quantities. Our recommended daily consumption of salt is set as less than 2.300 mg. It is suggested that no single food should contain more than 805 mg. per serving. Check the label carefully for how many servings are in the package. Often, there are several, making the facts a bit decieving. High sodium also means highly processed. Most canned or packaged foods have a much higher sodium content than the freshly made counterpart. Look out for canned soups, jarred sauces or lunch meats. They tend to be sodium bombs.

Fiber: When looking at grain based products, such as bread, look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Labels will often describe the fiber as soluable, or insoluable. Sources of soluable fiber include oatmeal, barley and dried beans. This type of fiber can be helpful in lowering cholesterol. Insoluable fiber protects against bowel disease, and is found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables.

Sugars: Sugar can crop up in all kinds of foods which are not associated with being sweet, like crackers, or cereals that market themselves as healthy. It is often listed as glucose, sucrose or fructose, among others. If it ends in “ose,” it is a type of sugar. Sugar substitutes might have the ending “tol,” such as malatol,or sorbitol. These are sugar alcohols and are associated with causing digestive issues. If your artificially sweetened foods send you racing to a restroom, you might want to avoid them in the future.

Protein: Our bodies are made of protein, and it is often referred to as the building blocks of life. We need protein to repair and make new cells. Protein is found in animal products, as well as soy, nuts, and beans among other plant based sources. The rule of thumb, is to eat .45 grams of protein per day, for every pound of body weight. That means a 150 pound person should consume about 68 grams per day.

Total Carbohydrates: This number could come from healthy sources, such as whole grains or even vegetables, or it could come from the “white stuff,”such as processed white flour and sugar. Cross reference this number with the sugar and fiber numbers to get the full picture.

Vitamins and Minerals: This lists the vitamins and minerals that are both naturally occuring, and those that are added. The percentages are often most helpful in determining just how much of these are in any given food. Remember, these are often based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If you only eat 1500 calories per day, these percentages will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Ingredients: This is critical information. All ingredients are required to be listed on the label, in order of quantity. To me, this is the most important information on the label, as it tells me exactly what I am eating. When I began doing my Whole 30 elimination diet, I realized that most packaged foods had lots more in them than one would think. Almond butter for instance, should contain almonds, and possibly salt. Sugar, or additives are uneccessary and can be avoided if you are a savvy shopper. If there is a long list of ingredients on a simple food, it might be one to avoid. If you can’t pronounce some of them, that too is a danger sign that the food might not be very good for you.

Knowing what we are putting into our bodies is key to good health and weight control.

There is a great app from food expert Marion Nestle, called Fooducate, which allows you to scan a food’s barcode and get a letter grade on the healthiness of the product, right there in the grocery aisle. While the foods that don’t contain a barcode or a package are usually the best for us, this is an invaluable tool to help you navigate the vast array of foods available to us.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

No Go for GMOs

September 18, 2015

Our food has been modified over the years, through the hybridization and cross pollination of crops. So if Dan Barber, the famed chef, environmentalist and proponent of the farm to table movement, uses various techniques to blend different types of seeds to improve the qualtiy and flavor of the plants at Blue Hill Farms at Stone Barns, is that considered genetic modification?  (Spoiler alert: its not.) How do we separate the good from the bad?

GMOs or genetically modified organisms, are engineered through gene splicing techniques in a laboratory where unstable plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes are combined to create new genes which are not found in nature or traditional crossbreeding (such as that being done by Mr. Barber.)

At this stage, virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand herbacides, or create insecticides. There is a body of research which associates GMOs with health and environmental issues.

More than 60 countries around the world, including Japan, Australia and all of the European Union have restricted the production and sale of GMO’s. The United States has approved the use of GMO foods based on research conducted by the same companies which produce them. There is also no rule stating that GMO foods must be labeled as such.

Because so many GMOs were created to withstand herbacides, the use of them has risen dramatically over the years. Super weeds and super bugs have emerged requiring even stronger chemicals to control them. Even though many farmers don’t use GMOs, they can drift in time from one neighboring farm to another.

Certain crops are more at risk of containing GMOs than others. The high risk foods are:
Alfalfa, flax, corn, rice, sugar beets, yellow summer squash, canola, cotton, papaya, soy, zucchini and wheat.

Because of potentially contaminated feed, some animal products are also at risk, such as milk, meat, eggs and honey.

Many derivative items are also GMO risks, including aspartame, vitamin C, ascorbic acid, high fructose corn syrup, yeast producs, xanthan gum ( often found in gluten free foods,) and molasses, among many others. Processed foods are very likely to contain  GMO risk derivatives.

Unknown

Certainly, every variety of every food listed is not genetically modified. Modification is too young of a process to allow us to fully know the risks associated with them. For my own health, and that of my family’s, I would prefer to avoid GMOs wherever possible.
Buying grass fed beef, and going to the local greenmarket where you can talk to the farmer is one way of avoiding GMOs. There is also the NON GMO Project, which verifies foods as being free of genetic modifications. Looking for their seal on high risk foods is another way of ensuring that your foods are safe.

Organic foods are always GMO free, and do not use synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge, or growth promoting antibiotics. Consider going organic on the high risk foods to avoid GMOs.

Learn more by visitingthe Non Gmo Project , Stone Barns websites.

Watch the documentary series Chef’s Table and view the episode about Dan Barber for a glimpse of the farm to table movement at its best.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

 

 

 

 

Shirting The Issue

September 17, 2015

New York Fashion Week is almost over, and amid the whirlwind of shows, parties and street style, a few trends are emerging that we can start to wear right now.

The crisp tailored shirt has proven to be influential this season, with designers re-tooling the classic into dresses, tunics and new variations on the ultimate topper to almost everything.

VERA WANG1

Vera Wang

Vera Wang cut an oversized version worn with briefs and a bra, in a new riff on a sexy look.

lim2

Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim layered a long and lean version over tiny shorts, with a tied waist and cuffs.

_KOR0749

Michael Kors

Michael Kors paired the oversized white shirt with a sunny yellow suede wrap skirt.

_ARC0371

DKNY

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School debuted their first collection for DKNY this season, with an urban take on the white shirt, featuring a longer length and a photo printed street scene.

Now is the perfect time to put your crisp white shirt back into heavy rotation. Proportion is everything, and borrowing from the boys is the freshest way to update this classic. Pants optional.

Photo: Vogue Runway

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Be Prepared

September 15, 2015

4259200045_comp

Even the most seasoned cooks get caught off guard sometimes. We think we have a well stocked pantry, and then discover that while we may in fact have the necessary item, its not enough to complete the recipe. We may get distracted and fail to pay attention to the recipe’s ingredient list until after we got started. Whatever the reason, it sucks to be in the middle of a recipe and realize we don’t have the right ingredients. Living in New York City has its benefits. I ran to the market on the corner twice mid-recipe last weekend, drastically overspending on items that I needed right that second. When cooking and baking in the ‘burbs, the drive to the supermarket might be more than you, or the stage of preparation can handle. Here are a few tips to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you:

Read the entire recipe through to make sure you have everything you need before you get started. Actually go to the cupboard or refrigerator and check so you don’t get caught short. ( One of my emergency trips was to pick up more eggs, only to discover that I had another carton in the fridge when I got back!)

4989100018_comp

Mis en place is a french phrase used in the culinary world which translates as ” put in place.” This means measuring out the ingredients you need for a recipe ahead of time, so you can just grab and go. Garlic and onions get pre-diced, things get brought to room temperature, such as butter and eggs, and nothing gets forgotten. Make mis en place a part of your cooking and you will marvel at how much time you save.

Set out your tools. Once you are underway, hands covered with _________, (insert gooey, messy food item here:) is not the time to start frantically rumaging through the drawers looking for that random utensil.  Not having the right things you need can make or break an otherwise great dish.

4093600086_comp

Preheat the oven before you get started so that it is the correct temperature when you are ready for it. Starting at the proper temperature makes a big difference in the cook time, and final outcome of the dish. Don’t just set the timer and assume that is the proper cook time. My oven is a bit erratic, and I have had things start to burn long before they were supposed to be done, because the oven temperature increased over time. Conversely, things aren’t always done when they are supposed to be. Check food regularly to insure it is cooking properly. For baked goods, such as cookies or muffins, rotate the pan part way through cooking to make sure that things are browning evenly. Insering a toothpick into baked items will let you know if the inside is cooked throroughly. A meat thermometer will let you know when the turkey or roast has reached the proper internal temperature.

ZC8X5976 Scones_Blog Indigo Jones Eats

Stay present. I got distracted last week and grabbed baking soda instead of baking powder for my scones. Two big ole tablespoons of it. Needless to say, they were inedible. The “blessing in disguise” moment was forgetting to take them out of the oven, forcing me to take a little bite to make sure they weren’t dried out. Dryness was the least of  my problem.  Re-read the recipe as you go, and focus on the job at hand. If you get sidetracked, go back and check your recipe and ingredients from the beginning to make sure you don’t forget something, or use the wrong item. The time spent double checking yourself is substantially less time than it took me to throw away two dozen nasty tasting scones, run to the market to get more ingredients and remake them. By the way, the second batch was perfect, so all is well that ends well!

Happy Cooking!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats


%d bloggers like this: