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Archive for August, 2011

I love this recipe for cannellini beans because I can serve it with almost anything: pork chops or salmon for example. Sometimes I mix it with a can of tuna for added protein and flavor. And sometimes I have some in the morning with my egg whites. The possibilities are endless. And cannelinni beans are a great source of protein and fiber. It is so delicious, nutritious and so easy, even a 6 year old can make it. No, seriously, my 6 year old, Olivia, made this. I supervised of course. She loves to help me in the kitchen. She’s becoming a Lil Giada 🙂 !

Here she is mashing the garlic and chopping up the veggies. She’s so focused at the task at hand …


Chopped and ready for the skillet …

Getting all sauteed and stuff …

Doesn’t it look delicious?! Here is what you ‘ll need.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of Cannelinni Beans (I like Goya products. “Si es Goya tiene que ser bueno!”)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 bunch of scallions (about 10 stalks)
  • salt and pepper

Preparations:

  • Chop up onions, scallions, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and mash the garlic. Set aside.
  • In large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil.
  • Once hot, add the garlic and the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Then add the scallions, the red and yellow bell peppers and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Finally, wash and add the cannelinni beans. Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Then uncover and cook on high for about 5 minutes
  • .

    That’s it! Dig in and enjoy. 🙂

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This article is super helpful. Especially to me. My food porn is awful. I will become much better now with these tips! If you need better photography skills, read on!

Food Photography Tips Every once in awhile I’ll get a question about how I take my food pictures. I always feel that a comment reply or a tweet aren’t descriptive enough. Everyday I’m inspired by other food photographers and food bloggers and I am extremely humbled to hear, read and see that I’ve inspired others. I appreciate all the comments and support that I get from blog viewers. There is this quote from Maya Angelou that resounds in my head; she simply says,”When … Read More


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Most of my friends know, I LOVE eating chia seeds. Yes, chia. As in ch-ch-ch-chia! The ones we’ve all seen in the commercials. Some of you probably even had one. Yeah, that stuff. Go ahead and laugh! It might sound funny. And most people think I’m crazy but I’ve been converting many a person since I’ve discovered them a couple of months ago. And if you put your judgements aside, and gave them a try, you’ll be a chia seed eating nut just like myself!

Why do I love it so? Any food that is nutrient dense is a food I will incorporate into my healthy eating habits! A recent Details Magazine article sums it up nicely: “Chia is packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and more omega-3s—the essential fatty acids linked to lean muscle mass, clear skin, and heart health—than any other plant in the world. And thanks to its slow carbohydrate-to-blood-sugar conversion rate, chia delivers sustained energy.”

But here is a more elaborate synopsis that might help explain my chia seed craze.

Let’s take it from the top. What the heck are chia seeds anyway?

Well, it’s food. Duh! Sounds obvious enough but people always ask me if it’s some sort of supplement. But it isn’t. It’s an edible seed like a sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, etc. A little history: Chia seeds were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets back in the days and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds is believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours.

What do chia seeds taste like?

They don’t taste like anything. The flavor is almost non-existent. I mix it into my chobani yogurt but you can also mix it into smoothies or oatmeal. Sprinkle it on your salad even.

What are the benefits of eating chia? Chia seeds has almost endless health benefits…

High in Omega-3s
The oil in chia seeds is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other food. Omega-3s are essential to the human body and help to prevent many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. These fatty acids and oils are also useful for absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as in absorbing calcium, which is important for vegetarians and vegans.

Brain Health
Thanks to their high omega-3 content, chia seeds are the perfect brain food. Many people have found that adding chia seeds to their diet improved memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities.

Antioxidants
Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants; in fact they actually have more antioxidants than blueberries. Anti-oxidants help rid our body of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer and heart disease.

Blood Sugar Control
Chia seeds are a great ingredient for diabetics to use because they help to maintain lower blood sugar levels. It is necessary for diabetics to actively maintain their glucose levels and chia seeds assist in this process.

Weight Loss
Chia seeds are high in fiber which helps to cleanse the digestive tract, prevents constipation and enhances regularity. They are a great way to bulk up a not so filling meal. After eating chia seeds you can feel satisfied for hours. Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber and protein and they also have carbohydrates that are slowly digested. These factors combined help to curb your appetite and increase fat burning.

Energy Booster
Chia seeds are a great source of energy that can help sustain you through hard workouts and other grueling tasks.

Detoxification
The high fiber and antioxidants in chia seeds help with detoxification. When fiber is consumed, the body is effectively able to remove waste and toxins from the body. Additionally, antioxidants as well help with toxin and waste removal as they work to eliminate free radicals.

Anti-Inflammatory
Because chia seeds contain essential fatty acids, eating them on a regular basis can reduce inflammation within the body. High levels of inflammation are associated with many health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and chronic pain.

How much chia should I eat daily?

For general purposes of health, nutrition and energy an adult would typically consume about 1-2 tbsp dry seeds daily.

Where do you buy chia seeds?

Whatever you do, don’t run out and buy a chia pet. Unless your plan is to grow it. These particular seeds aren’t really recommended for human consumption. Will you grow a chia pet in your stomach if you eat ’em? Of course, not. The hydrochloric acids in your stomach responsible for breaking down food won’t let that occur. But the chia seeds sold at the natural health food stores meet stricter standards and are best for consumption. So take a walk over to your local health food store and pick up a bag. Whole Foods carries half a dozen chia brands now too. Price ranges from $6-$14 in most places, depending where you live. Or you can buy them from a number of online retailers as well. However, I’ve seen some brands cost upwards of $55 online. Yikes! But these days, chia seeds are now showing up everywhere; from muffins at Le Pain Quotidien to energy bars at cutting-edge gyms and juice shops.

So for those who didn’t know … now you know! And before you go off and dismiss them thinking perhaps you won’t like them … “Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say.”

Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist. Nor do I play one on TV. The information I posted here on chia is from all kinds of sources from all over the web as well as from nutritionists and doctors. If any information written here is incorrect please feel free to let me know and I will look into it. I side job as an investigator too. lol. No, not really. Just kidding.

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When this recipe showed up on my twitter feed via @kitchenconfidante, my mouth instantly drooled. I couldn’t hit the “print recipe” fast enough.  What’s surprising is that I’ve never had goat cheese or blueberry vanilla compote before. But it doesn’t take a “Mario Batali” to realize just how delicious this combination was going to taste in one’s mouth. And it was super fast and easy to make.  If you can pour and stir, then you can make this in 15 minutes.

I will admit, 15 minutes isn’t a very long time at all, but it felt like time was painfully dragging due to my anticipation of that very first bite. My perception of time looked a lot like this [click here]. lol Suffice it to say, this was absolutely delicious. I brought some into work the next day and everyone loved it as well.

And because I am so generous and unselfish, I didn’t think it would be fair to keep such a gem from my friends … I reached out to @kitchenconfidante and with her blessing, I share it with you.  I encourage you to visit Kitchen Confidante for more fabulous recipes.

Makes 1 cup.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Crackers for serving

METHOD

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, stir together blueberries, apple juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the vanilla. Allow the compote to cool before using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Using your hands, form the goat cheese into your desired shape (ball, log, etc.). Make certain the compote is completely chilled before pouring over the cheese. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

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Whenever I watch fairy tales with Olivia, as a single mother, I have to stop and think, is this really the message I want her to learn?  That her happiness in life hangs on finding some elusive prince who will whisk her away to her happily ever after?

I think I would prefer that she learn to be a strong and self-sufficient woman, who will maybe find a partner (male or female), who is right for her and with whom she can live a happy and fulfilled life.  But if she never finds that person, her life will still be just as joyous and complete.  Like mine is! I want her to know that it is possible, even desirable, to go it alone and still be very happy.

And even though I want her to grow up to be a strong and independent woman, who will be able to withstand and overcome all of life’s disappointments, unscathed, I don’t want to ruin the fairy tale for her either.

So for now, I will let her have her fairy tales.  I’ll let her watch the movies.  I’ll even read her the stories before bed. Part of childhood is believing in magic and picture-perfect happy endings.  Hopefully, I will figure out how to teach her that whatever path she chooses in life, if she is fulfilled, then that is her happy ending.

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I recently found, and have made many times,  a to-die-for Portabella Mushroom recipe, which was submitted by bell’alimento to the Mushroom Channel. I can not emphasize how insanely good this is. And surprisingly filling.  Sometimes I add sauteed shrimp bits for variety … and for some additional protein. But you can stuff these with just about anything your heart desires.

For another variation it would even be delicious made into a portabella mushroom burger simply by adding a great toasted bun and garnishing with balsamic vinegar!

Portabella Mushrooms filled with Goat Cheese
What you’ll need:

  • 2 portabella mushrooms – stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • firm goat cheese – 2 slices or enough to cover mushroom caps
  • 1/4 cup Parmigano Reggiano – grated
  • flat leaf Italian parsley – roughly chopped

What to do:
1. Preheat broiler to HIGH. Place mushrooms onto a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil olive on both sides {using more if necessary}. Place portabellas gill side down. Broil for approximately 8-10 minutes.

2. CAREFULLY flip portabellas over onto baking sheet. Season with pepper. Add garlic and top with goat cheese slices and Parmigiano. Season with pepper. Return to oven for approximately 5 minutes OR until cheese is bubbly and golden.

3. Garnish with parsley.

Buon Appetito!

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On Being Gluten Free

No, I don’t have Celiac’s. I’m not allergic to foods that contain gluten.  And I won’t instantly combust if I eat it. But I do find I have a somewhat intolerance for it. I don’t feel at my best when I eat it.

On May 4th, 2011 I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. As an experiment. To see how I would feel. Within days I felt a huge difference. I no longer felt bloated, tired or crabby. I stopped getting stomach cramps too. Being gluten free makes me feel fantastic! I’m deliriously giddy all the time now too. And I have tons of energy! For all of those reasons, I am gluten free.

When people first find out that I am gluten free, I get a wide variety of reactions. Most have a look of confusion on their face. “What does that mean?” they ask. Others who are familiar with the term ask if I have Celiac’s Disease. But mostly, people seem to think I’m limited to what I can eat. And to be fair, it’s not entirely false. I am limited to my choices when I eat out. But in my home, everything, for the most part, is gluten free.

People also seem to think that being gluten free means I don’t really enjoy good food, or that gluten free food is bland and/or boring. But nothing could be further from the truth. Gluten free food is just as delicious as anything else. With the right seasoning and food combinations, gluten free meals are delicious. And because I am eating almost exclusively natural and unprocessed food, it’s super nutritious.

I’ve been toying with the idea of transitioning my 6 year old daughter as well.  She does not have a real medical need to be gluten free either (none that I know of anyway), but eating whole, natural, and unprocessed foods is still extremely healthy.  So why not? It’s a win win! We’ll see how it goes.

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