Posts Tagged ‘beans’

Starch We Can’t Resist

May 20, 2015
Vermicelli nests

Vermicelli nests

I tend to avoid refined carbs as much as possible. It’s not easy. Especially when I love pasta, potatoes, bread and dessert. The hard cold reality is that those foods don’t love me back. Everytime I indulge a little, the dial on the scale goes up, and a little spare tire instantly appears around my midsection.

When I read an article in Prevention about resistant starches, I admit I got a bit excited.

Resistant starches have the chemical structure of starch, but act like fiber, in that they pass through our colon undigested. Our bodies can’t convert them to energy, so they become calorie free. Resistant starches are naturally found in many foods, including lentils, black beans, green peas, oats, and barley. Research has found that resistant starch enriched foods were responsible for an 8%-45% reduction in fat in an animal test group. Most of the fat loss came from visceral fat, or the dangerous fat that surrounds the internal organs. A human study revealed increased fat burning of 20%-25% when resistant starches were consumed.They have also been linked to lowering blood sugar, helping digestion, and reducing appetite.

Roseval potatoes

Roseval potatoes

The catch? How you prepare the foods, effects the levels of resistant starches. Cooking, and then cooling potatoes or rice, for example, has been shown to increase the levels of resistant starch, where allowing a green banana to ripen, decreases the benefits.

While there is not enough research yet to prove its effects, it could be the next big thing in weight management.

Head over to Authority Nutrition for more detailed information.

Related article: Like White on Rice

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Shrimp with Beans and Kale

March 23, 2015

I am always looking for something new to do with shrimp, especially something that doesn’t involve them being served over rice or pasta. I stumbled upon a recipe a few weeks ago, and apparently, how I remembered it and what it actually was were not quite the same. I guess that’s what makes an unrecipe work so well. It is a combination of delicous flavors that are prepared to one’s liking, rather than measuring out specifics.

This base is a wonderful vegetarian dish on its own. The cannelini beans give it some heft and are a great plant based protein. The garlic and onions add lots of flavor and the kale is healthy addition adding color, taste and lots of vitamins!

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Shrimp with Beans, Kale and Tomatoes:

Saute a small diced onion and a couple of diced garlic cloves in olive oil until translucent. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch or so of red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like your food. Add some diced tomatoes and cook until the sauce starts to thicken a little. You can use fresh or boxed tomatoes.( We used a box of Pomi diced tomatoes.) Add strips of kale and a box or can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, or other white beans. Simmer until the kale softens and the beans are fully heated through. Adjust the seasonings and sprinkle with a big handful of fresh, chopped basil.

In the meantime, shell and devien about a pound of shrimp. Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan until very hot. Cook the shrimp until slightly browned and opaque. This should only take a minute or two on each side.

To serve, spoon the bean mixture into bowls, and place the sauteed shrimp on top, and enjoy!

 

photo: indigojonesnyc instagram

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Funnels

February 3, 2015

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Funnels are a useful kitchen tool, but one that not all of us have. I mean, how often do you use a funnel?
No worries! There are several options that you do have laying around the house.

When looking to transfer something like rice, or beans into a smaller container, or even pour flour into the running mixer, simply take a clean envelope and cut a hole in the corner, just large enough for the item to pass through.

For oil, or liquid items, roll a piece of parchment paper into a cone, and set the small end into the cup or bottle you are transfering to. Small quantities of liquids shouldn’t soak through paper, if you pour carefully. This also works for dry ingredients.

If you have a wider opening in your container, pour the ingredients into a pitcher, and then slowly pour from there.

When you’re done, toss the faux funnel into the trash, and enjoy your mess-free kitchen counters.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Oops Soup

October 17, 2014

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry . Today’s dish really is an unrecipe: in fact, not only did I use the “little of this and a bit of that” method, I didn’t even intend it to be soup!

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It all began in the vegetable market, when I had a taste for something hearty, yet vegetarian. Autumnal flavors were on my mind, and zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms sounded like a good start.

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I sautéed an onion and some garlic with the mushrooms, and added some italian herbs. Sounds good, right? Well, it all went astray from there. As I tossed chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on top of it in the slow cooker , I had some second thoughts. I wondered if 5 hours in the slow cooker might make them soft. I wondered if they might give off too much liquid. I added a can of beans to make the stew heartier, and hopefully thicken up what I realized was going to be a pot of mushy vegetables. I turned on the cooker and went about my business. When I came back a few hours later, I had just that: a pot of bland, starting to get quite mushy vegetables. They had given off quite a bit of liquid, but not enough to make soup. I added some stock and some canned tomatoes to the pot and let it cook it’s little heart out. When it was done, I pureed it into a rich, flavorful soup. It’s sort of a riff on a classic minestrone, and a little drizzle of olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese provided the perfect finishing touch. All’s well that ends well!

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Winter Vegetable Stew Soup:

Dice one medium onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and sauté them in olive oil until soft. Add some sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown. Add a healthy amount of dried oregano, basil and a bay leaf, and place in the slow cooker. Pile on chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. ( I used 2 zucchini, 1 medium eggplant and 3 large tomatoes.) Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add 1 can of beans, rinsed, ( I used chickpeas ) and set the slow cooker for about 5 hours. Check it a few hours in, give it a stir and realize this is going to be mediocre at best. Add a little vegetable stock, if necessary, and a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes. Let it cook until the timer goes off.

Puree the mixture, and taste to correct seasonings. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.  To serve, place in soup bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a dollop of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy, knowing that good cooks can salvage almost anything!

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Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Iron Maiden

August 14, 2012

Lately, I have been feeling exhausted. I have attributed it to everything from not sleeping well, the weather, over training, and just plain having too much to do.
Seeking a more tangible cure, I looked at my diet, which often holds the solution to my ails. Could I be anemic? I don’t eat red meat, and my spinach intake is not of Popeye proportions. I avoid gluten, which makes me sluggish, therefore I don’t eat iron fortified breads or cereals.  I could be onto something.

I immediately consulted Dr. Google, and who served up a list of iron rich foods.

There are definitely some pleasant surprises for those of us for whom eating liver is not an option!

While meat has the highest amount and easiest absorbed source of iron, there are many other healthy choices that I find more palatable.

Fish: Salmon, halibut, perch and tuna are all very high in heme or animal based iron, which is most readily absorbed by the body. Clams, oysters and mussels are also good sources, but I find them too slimy for my taste!

Beans: Canned Lima beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or split peas are all good options. Be sure to rinse them, to reduce the starchiness, and the calories.

Tofu

Pumpkin or sesame seeds

Baked potatoes

Broccoli

Sundried Tomatoes

Nuts: Peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachio, almonds, and cashews

Dried fruits: Raisins, apricots, peaches or prunes (do I sense a trail mix or homemade granola thing evolving here?)

Cocoa powder and chocolate

Dried Herbs:

The drying of fruits and vegetables ups the iron factor, topping its fresh counterpart dramatically. By removing the water, the nutrients are increased, as are the sugars and calories. Beware!

Food pairings are also an important factor in helping your body actually absorb the iron.

 Iron Enhancers:

Fruit and fruit juices, such as orange juice, cantaloupe, and strawberries

Vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and red or green peppers

White wine

Iron Inhibitors:

Red wine, coffee and tea (boo!)

Spinach, chard, beet greens and sweet potatoes (spinach?!) Apparently, these foods contain high levels of oxalic acids, which prevent the absorption of iron into the system. Who knew?

Whole grains and bran

Now that I know my diet is not to blame for being tired, its time to look at other factors. Perhaps powering down the computer might help me get a better night’s sleep?

photo:Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

July 13, 2011

This week, I have been making lettuce-less salads for lunch. So far, this is my favorite:

 Cucumber Salad with Mint and Tomatoes

Chop ½ a cucumber, 2 small stalks of celery and a small tomato.

Add a handful of chopped parsely and fresh mint leaves.

Mix in ½ cup beans and 1/8 cup feta cheese crumbles.

Drizzle with olive oil and the juice of one lime.

Season with  sea salt and pepper.

Toss and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

In partnership with Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

September 2, 2010

In Pursuit of the Lettuce-less Salad

Lately, I have grown weary of lettuce.  I tend to eat salad for lunch and dinner and last week I hit the wall. Although I vary the selection of greens, at the end of the day, lettuce is still lettuce.

This week, I have been experimenting with new combinations in the pursuit of the lettuce-less salad. The goal is to find filling, healthy alternatives for the base, and build around that. I try to stay low fat and low carb, while still getting a balance of protein and vegetables.

I have experimented with a base of chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes, mixed with steamed green beans, broccoli florets or roasted zucchini.  The previous night’s dinner often plays a role in my choices. I try to toss in some kind of bean such as cannellini, kidney or garbanzo.  A little low fat cheese, such as feta, goat or even shredded Parmesan adds flavor. I have found that a few chopped Kalamata olives give the salad a salty tang. Roasted red peppers or some corn add color and texture.

If the ingredients are right, a little extra virgin olive oil and lime juice is enough to bring the flavors out without drowning them in dressing and calories. Although anything goes, here is one of my favorites so far:

Chopped mini Heirloom tomatoes in various colors

Green beans, lightly steamed, cooled and cut into bite sized pieces

Cannellini beans, rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled

Corn

Chopped Kalamata olives

Roasted red peppers

Olive oil

Lime juice

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Sprinkle with olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss.

Enjoy!

Note: According to my “Lose It” iphone app, this salad was only 215 calories! Of course, serving size plays a role in this number.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

February 28, 2010

What better thing to do on a cold, winter day, than make homemade soup?
This vegetable soup is so easy to make, that it just isn’t worth buying the preservative and sodium-laden versions at the grocery store.

I cheated, and used some frozen vegetables. At this time of the year, certain things are not readily available, and the frozen varieties still contain the nutrients found in the fresh versions. Experiment with different combinations of vegetables. You really can’t go wrong here!

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Saute  a large, diced onion in a little olive oil, until soft.

Add diced carrots, celery, peas, spinach, corn and tomatoes. (I used canned San Marzano diced tomatoes and added the whole thing, including the juices).

Add 1 or 2 cans of red kidney beans, and / or cannellini beans, rinsed.

Fill the pot with chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer the soup for an hour or two, until the flavors begin to meld.

Serve with a dollop of pesto for extra flavor.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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