Archive for September, 2013

WARM SPICED SWEET POTATO SALAD

Warm Spiced Sweet Potato Salad (serves 4) IMG_1149

ingredients

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 T sliced toasted almonds (see note below*)

1 lb sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks

¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 T  lemon juice

½ T honey

1 small clove of garlic, minced

½ t ground cinnamon

½ t ground ginger

½ t tumeric

salt & pepper to taste

2 T extra virgin olive oil

4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried

directions

Place the onion in a medium bowl and cover with ice water. Soak for 10-15 minutes.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes or just until tender but firm. Drain.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this dressing for the spinach.

Add the hot sweet potatoes to the dressing in the bowl. Drain the onions and add them to the sweet potatoes. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper. Toss the spinach with the reserved 2 tablespoons of dressing in a large bowl. Mound the spinach onto 4 plates. Top with the sweet potato salad and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve warm.

*NOTE: You can toast the almonds either in the microwave or in the oven. Microwave: Place almonds in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Oven: Spread almonds in a small baking pan. Toast in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter”, June 2013)

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MAKE YOUR BRAIN HAPPY….SMILE

I read an interesting article about smiling. Supposedly  IMG_1143there are many benefits  of smiling including boosting your mood, relieving stress, and enhancing your immune system. Usually, we are happy when we’re smiling but this article went on to say that we could fool ourselves by smiling when we’re not happy. That’s right—this tricks the brain into thinking that we actually ARE happy.

I tried this. When I was frustrated and annoyed, I smiled. Sure, I looked like a total idiot but hey—I think there’s something to this.

My next step is to try this with my clients. While I have a handful of clients who LOVE to exercise, most of them aren’t too happy when they show up. Perhaps the key is to SMILE throughout our sessions?

So try this. You have nothing to lose other than a few wrinkles around your mouth. But you probably won’t mind that much because you’ll be in a much better mood!

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GRILLED GLAZED CHICKEN

Grilled Glazed Chicken

ingredients

1 ½ t extra virgin olive oil

4 (4-5 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ t salt

¼ t freshly ground pepper

¼ cup orange marmalade

¼ cup cherry spreadable fruit (such a s Polaner AllFruit)

1 t lower-sodium soy sauce

1 t butter

1 T bourbon

directions

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grill chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from the grill and keep warm.

Place the marmalade, cherry spreadable fruit and soy sauce in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes or until very thick, stirring frequently. Add the butter, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon. Spoon the glaze over the chicken and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “Cooking Light”, April, 2013)

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THE MAGIC OF MARKETING

My niece and nephew are really into Rainbow Looms. They are these Picture 639cool, colorful rubber bands that, when using a special board, turn into fun, funky jewelry. My brother told me that Rainbow Looms were originally called Twistz Bandz and only came in one color. Twistz Bands didn’t do so well as a craft. However, once more colors were added and the name changed, this product took off and is now a HOT item. Good marketing!

Being into nutrition, I see food marketing all the time. My favorite is imagesthe use of the word ENERGY. We love that word! Even Snickers uses it: How is it that we all know that Snickers “SATISFIES” because it is “PACKED WITH PEANUTS” to give us “MORE ENERGY”.

The reality is……… ENERGY is a synonym for CALORIES. I bet if Snickers revised their ads and told all of us that “SNICKERS WAS PACKED WITH CALORIES” we might not be reaching for that “SATISFYING” bar.

So pay attention to that ENERGY word. I bet you’ll see it all over the place–especially on snack bars and on sport drinks. Substitute the word CALORIES in. Do you still want that product?

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ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH SHRIMP

Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp (Serves 4) IMG_1140

Ingredients

2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite size florets

3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/8 t hot pepper flakes

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

zest and juice of 1 large lemon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 4250 F. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 2 T of olive oil and the chopped garlic. Season with salt, pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes.

In a separate bowl, combine the shrimp, remaining 1 T olive oil, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp to the baking sheet and toss with the broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and the broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more.   Squeeze the lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.

NOTE: The original recipe called to season the broccoli with cumin, coriander and chili powder. Since my husband isn’t crazy about some of these spices, I substituted fresh garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. You can season this dish anyway you’d like!

(Adapted from a recipe found on the food blog, “Wednesday Chef”)

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TAGLIATELLE WITH ARUGULA

Tagliatelle with Arugula (serves 4) IMG_1109

Ingredients

16 oz of arugula, washed and roughly chopped

16 oz tagliatelle

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 t fennel seeds, crushed

1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes

1, 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained of their juices

salt and pepper

olive oil

grated Parmesan cheese

directions

Gently heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and fry until golden. Add the fennel seeds and chili and stir. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stir with a spoon to break up the tomatoes and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until reduced to a thick sauce.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the tagliatelle for 2 minutes. Then add the arugula. Cook together for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Drain and return to the saucepan. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir in the tomato sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “River Café Cookbook Green”)

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THE BURDEN: SOMEONE HAS TO HAVE IT

Well, here we are, back in September. Yes, it’s back to school time. The traffic has returned, the days are shorter, and we all are reluctantly marching back into our routines.

For those of you who have children in school, homework is one of  Homework Seriesthose distasteful side effects. Now that my kids are in college, I have to admit…….I’m so glad those days are over. But what I noticed about homework is that someone had to be responsible for it:  If I felt the homework burden, they didn’t have to. So early on,  I made the conscious decision to let homework be THEIR problem. That strategy actually worked: they were burdened with it and I was free!  It was either them or me and I didn’t want it.

I’m finding the same concept applies to living a healthy life. I try to encourage my clients to take on that burden. It IS a burden because it’s something you need to work on all the time. However, every now and then, I find that I’m the one who seems more burdened: I worry more,  and want it to happen more than they do. I have to remind myself that this is no different than the homework situation.  Clearly, the wrong person is worrying.

So, if you have any health issues going on, take on the responsibility. Don’t try and pass it off to anyone else. Don’t underestimate the value of making just one, small change because that’s a great place to start. And if it feels somewhat burdensome, IT IS. But someone has to have it.

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