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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Eat Well, Be Well’

Newfound love for cooking

April 3, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

With a new baby and 2 toddlers, my free time to experiment in the kitchen is limited.  However, we recently underwent a kitchen renovation which has left me with the desire to prepare delicious meals in my new light filled space.  Until of course, I hear the crying baby and 2 little "helpers" who end up putting most of the food in their mouth (especially if it involves chocolate).  That said, since we moved back into our new kitchen, I realize how an inviting space makes preparing meals so much more pleasurable.  A recent meal of grilled cheese sandwiches prepared on our new stove gave me more pleasure than should be allowed when making such a simple meal.  My surroundings have transformed my attitude about simple food preparation. 
For the last 9 months I was uninspired and my previous love for baking and cooking was dampened.  Simply being able to see the light and outdoors while I cook has rejuvenated my previous love for cooking.  I am really looking forward to our first holiday meal in our new kitchen.

Foodborne illness could trigger health problems

April 3, 2012
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

Thanks to Brian for passing this along.  It's yet one more excellent reason to be ever vigil about food safety!  Does Foodborne Illness Trigger Lifelong Health Problems?

Here's a quick summary:

"The few studies that have followed victims of foodborne illness for years afterward show that later in life, they suffer higher-than-usual rates not only of digestive trouble, but of arthritis and kidney problems, as well as greater risk of heart attack and stroke."

To read the full article click here

10 bad cooking habits you should break

February 22, 2012
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

We are finally ending a long kitchen renovation that began in July.  Though we were fortunate to have a “spare” kitchen; I didn’t partake in any type of gourmet cooking while housed down in our basement.  I fear my cooking skills may be a little rusty & these cooking tips from Eating Well came at the perfect time. I didn’t include all of them, just the “bad cooking habits” I thought most relevant.  Happy Cooking!

1. Heating Oil Until It Smokes – Most recipes start with heating oil in a pan. It usually takes a little time for the stove to warm up, so we pour the oil and then turn our backs on the pan to do something else while it heats. Before you know it, you see wisps of smoke, which means the pan is hot and ready for cooking, right? Wrong! Not only do many oils taste bad once they have been heated to or past their smoke point, but when oils are heated to their smoke point or reheated repeatedly, they start to break down, destroying the oil’s beneficial antioxidants and forming harmful compounds. However, an oil’s smoke point is really a temperature range (olive oil’s is between 365° and 420°F), not an absolute number, because many factors affect the chemical properties of oil. You can safely and healthfully cook with any oil by not ­heating it until it’s smoking—to get your oil hot enough to cook with, just heat it until it shimmers.

2. Stirring Your Food Too Much – It’s tempting to stir your food constantly to prevent burning, but stirring too much can be a bad thing. It prevents browning—a flavor booster you get by letting your food sit on a hot surface—and it breaks food apart, making your meal mushy. Resist the urge to stir constantly unless the recipe specifically tells you to do so.

3. Overfilling Your Pan – Sometimes cooking requires a little patience. It may be faster to fill your pan to the brim with ingredients, but doing that can actually slow cooking and give you a big pile of mush at the end. If you want to sauté, filling your pan too full will cause your food to steam and not give you the crispy results you are looking for. The same goes for cooking meat. Shoving too much meat in the pan lowers the temperature of the pan too quickly, which can cause sticking and a whole host of other problems. Your best bet is to cook in batches. The extra time you put into it will make your meal much better.

4. Using Nonstick Pans on High Heat – Turn down the heat when using nonstick pans. High temperatures can cause the nonstick lining to release PFCs (perfluorocarbons) in the form of fumes. PFCs are linked to liver damage and developmental problems. Check with your pan manufacturer to see what temperatures they recommend.

5. Using Metal Utensils on Nonstick Pans — Using metal utensils in a nonstick pan is not a good idea. You can inadvertently scratch the surface of the pan, which could lead you to ingest the PFCs in the nonstick lining. Use wooden or heat-safe rubber utensils when using nonstick pans.

6. Overmixing Batter – When you’re making batter for baking (or anything with large amounts of flour) you want everything to be well combined. And to combine, you mix. But too much mixing isn’t good. The mechanical action of the mixing causes gluten to form in the flour, making baked goods tough. So gently mix until the batter is uniform, then put down your mixer.


For the full article please visit:
http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/healthy_cooking_blog/10_bad_cooking_habits_you_should_break

 

 

The real top chefs

February 21, 2012
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

My intention for this post was to pen some of my own thoughts and musings about food.  While doing some research though, I came across this article and felt it was much better phrased than anything I would write.  I have a friend, a fellow chef, who was at the competition for the Bocuse D'or and he was awestruck by the talent and dedication of all the candidates. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Click here to read the article on the huffington post website


 

A healthy heart is a happy heart

February 7, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

February is American Heart Month (Go Red http://www.goredforwomen.org/), as well as Valentine’s Day.  We don’t often think of heart disease being the # 1 killer of women, especially when we are indulging in our chocolate treats from our loved one(s).  But don’t fret, we don’t have to completely wipe chocolate out of our heart healthy diet.  In fact, incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate in our diet can be beneficial….with the key word being small! Dark chocolate offers heart healthy benefits due to their flavonol content.  Think dark ... skip milk chocolate and pick the darkest chocolate possible to get more flavonols. Bars with a higher percent of cocoa in their ingredient lists generally are the best; many brands have about 50 percent, but some offer more than 80 percent. Along with dark chocolate, treats that contain nuts tend to deliver the biggest benefits where heart health is concerned. Avoid chocolates filled with creams, which are high in fat, or with "fruit" fillings that likely don't feature any real fruit - just extra sugar.  So this month as you indulge in your Valentine treats, take a moment to think about your real "heart."

Weekly Wisdom – Think beyond milk

January 30, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

 Get more calcium…to keep bones strong & reduce fractures. Think beyond milk:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Canned salmon with bones (they are edible)
  • Tofu, fortified soymilk & fruit juice

Food reigns

January 25, 2011
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

I came across this article from The Denver Post while searching for blog topics.  It's food critic Tucker Shaw's last post before moving to a different assignment with the paper. I absolutely love what he has to say, from enjoying the simplest of flavors to shaming us for taking for granted how truly blessed we are.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

You never fully appreciate a good thing until it’s gone

January 25, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

Much to my dismay, Fresh Air Natural Foods, my source for all things “healthy” has closed after 20 years of business. I mourn this loss for (mostly) selfish reasons.

  1. The vast amounts of flours, grains & beans gave me easy access to foods not commonly sold in our local grocery store (quinoa, whole wheat pastry flour, millet, etc).
  2. The prices were reasonable and buying in  gave me the ability to buy smaller amounts of items eaten less frequently.
  3. The most selfish reason-I often gave myself a nice pat on the back when I bypassed Whole Foods in favor of our local store.

Shopping local has it benefits and I admit that skipping the big organic grocer not only saved me time & money, it gave me the rights to boast that I support our local economy.  But alas, my support was not enough and my beloved store closed its doors. This has lead to much discouragement as having a store like this in Lynchburg gave me easy access to cooking healthy & delicious food.  Now my grain & flour purchases are going to take much more careful planning…road trip to Charlottesville anyone?

Weekly Wisdom – Eat 3 food groups at breakfast

January 24, 2011
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

Eat 3 food groups at breakfast. 
High carbohydrate cereals won’t keep hunger at bay for long. Include lean protein, carbohydrates & fat

  • Whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter
  • Hard boiled egg with whole grain toast
  • Greek yogurt with fruit  
 

Trash Talk – Energy Vampires

January 23, 2011
Becky Tweedy, Assistant to the President

Energy Vampires are all over your home, office, dorm room!

  • Take a look around at night to see what is still glowing – that will help you find the culprits!  
  • Microwave or coffee brewer with digital clock; dvd player or cable box; any type of charger, especially cell phone; all computer equipment
  • One easy fix? Plug several of these type items into a power strip that can be switched off when not in use.

For more tips, go to: http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/greentips/energy-vampires.html
And you thought vampires were just in the movies!

 
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