Posts Tagged ‘broccoli’

Healthy Preparation

November 6, 2014

There are lots of healthy foods out there and you can’t go wrong with fresh, seasonal produce.

But did you know that the way you prepare them may actually up the nutritional benefits of some of your favorite foods?
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We often cut our carrots, since looking like Bugs Bunny has never been our thing. Even those store bought baby carrots have been put through a machine to shave them down into smaller, more manageable bites. Studies have found that cutting carrots increases the surface size allowing some of the vital nutrients to seep out. Cooking them increases the bioavailability of the antioxident rich carotenoids. Wash and peel carrots and toss them whole into soups, stews or roast them in the oven, to get the most benefit from eating them.

Garlic crusher

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibiotic properties, and is thought to decrease blood pressure.Allicin does not naturally occur in the garlic bulb, but is produced when the garlic is crushed, or finely diced. Allicin is a bit flightily, and begins to degrade the moment it is created. Cooking helps that process along, and microwaving destroys it completely. For maximum health benefits, add a little finely diced raw garlic to cooked food, if the flavor is not too strong for your taste.

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Broccoli is a popular vegetable, and can be an effective cancer preventer. How you cook it however, determines just how much of those cancer fighters are present. Steaming is the only method that preserves or possibly increases those properties. Frying and boiling were found to be the worst. Find steamed broccoli a bit dull? Researchers also found that adding spicy foods upped the cancer fighting ante. Go ahead and steam it, and toss it in a spicy sauce!

Eating your vegetables, no matter how they are prepared is a win. Knowing how to get the most from them is a triumph!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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What’s Brewing? Dinner!

November 21, 2013

Detail of automatic coffee maker and cord.

Lately, I have been seeing all kinds of alternative cooking methods, ranging from poaching salmon in the dishwasher, to actually cooking the Thanksgiving turkey in it. One article suggested using it to wash large quantities of potatoes.

Of course we have all seen the trick of using an iron to make grilled cheese sandwiches, and isn’t a waffle iron just another texture of a Panini press or a George Forman grill anyways?
Today’s trick, discovered courtesy of NPR’s The Salt, shows you how to create an entire meal in a drip coffee maker!

While it seems a bit outrageous, we think it’s a stroke of genius!
Inspired by her nephew’s stint in Afghanistan, where the food was not up to par, and the only appliance the soldiers were allowed to have were coffee makers, Jody Anderson cooked up some recipes that he could whip up right in his quarters.

It turns out the coffee pot is very versatile, offering different cooking methods that can be used in tandem to create entire meals in 20 minutes.

The top basket functions as a steamer. Toss in a mix of cut vegetables that have similar cooking times. The vegetables can steam while the rest of the meal cooks elsewhere.

The vessel is the perfect place to poach meat or fish, boil eggs or grains, and cook oatmeal or soup.

The burner, albeit small, can be used to grill sandwiches, or fry an egg.

The NPR team attempted to cook a coffee pot meal, with astounding results.

They used the pot to cook up some cous cous, and then used it to poach a salmon filet.

While the food was cooking below, they steamed broccoli in the upper basket.

The finished product looked pretty appetizing, and the clean up was a breeze.
For how –tos, visit The Salt.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Natural Detoxifiers

January 3, 2013

It’s the beginning of a new year, and the end of the period of over-indulgence that spans from late November until early January. Before you do something dramatic, like start a juice cleanse, consider adding some of these naturally detoxifying foods to your diet.

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Broccoli helps the body eliminate toxins while providing a healthy dose of vitamins.

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Cucumbers are high in water content, and flush out the system.

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Cauliflower has anti-inflammatory properties, and is also an anti-oxidant.

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Grapefruit is high in fiber, and helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones, and lower cholesterol. It is also a digestive aid.

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Lentils are also high in fiber, which aids in elimination, as well as lowering blood sugar.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and selenium, which helps the liver filter toxins. They are also known to prevent arterial buildup.

Adding these foods to your diet will kick start a healthy eating plan for 2013!

photos: Glasshouse Images

CSA Tuesday

October 24, 2012

It’s CSA Tuesday again, and this week’s selection is a little different.

I am getting a bit backed up in the pumpkin department. Pie? Ravioli? Halloween decor?

We got some carrots, parsley, a giant cabbage and some broccoli.

We also got 4 enormous leeks.

While I am sure some of this will become CSA soup by Sunday night, I intend to get creative with some of the rest.

Ideas always welcome!

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


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