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Low-Carb Cauliflower – A healthy food substitute- Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This week, we wanted to place the produce spotlight firmly over one of our favorite vegetables, cauliflower. This may seem like an odd choice, but if you are a foodie or simply keen on cooking, you've probably already come across a number of articles and other media featuring this under-appreciated vegetable. It's become popular as a low-carbohydrate substitute in many recipes, replacing common ingredients such as flour in certain dough recipes (ex., gluten-free pizza crusts), or as an alternative to starch- and carb-laden dishes like mashed potatoes.

A little about cauliflower

While there are many different cultivars of white cauliflower, they are all marketed under the same name. In addition to the white varieties we're all well aquainted with, cauliflower also comes in other shades, including orange, green, and purple. Such varieties include the "broccoflower", a genetic cross which combines the physical features of cauliflower with the chlorophyll of broccoli, while mostly maintaining the cauliflower's unique flavor. With heads ranging from yellow-green to lime-green, broccoflower has a slightly sweeter taste than conventional cauliflower.

Selecting and storing a head of cauliflower

When choosing a cauliflower, look for a clean, white head with tight bud clusters – you'll want to avoid cauliflower whose florets are starting to separate or sag. The head of the cauliflower should be surrounded by thick green leaves, leaving the florets better protected and ensuring freshness over a longer period. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower, of course, should be avoided if possible.

Cauliflower will keep forup to five daysif stored in a perforated plastic bag or in an open dry container in the refrigerator, but is best eaten as soon as possible. Never seal your cauliflower in a plastic bag or other closed container and always keep the head stem-side up to prevent moisture form collecting on it during storage, which can accelerate rot.

Cauliflower recipes

So, how to prepare your cauliflower? As mentioned previously, you have plenty off options when it comes to cooking this incredible vegetable. There are a number of substitution options for more complex recipes, and cauliflower can serve as a standalone ingredient for simple sidedishes in place of other, more conventional veggies. Consider the following examples...

Cauliflower Rice

Instead of the usual white rice, substitute cauliflower in your favorite recipes. Just pulse the florets in a food processor or grate them on a box grater (via medium-sized holes) until you have small, rice-sized pellets. Once you have your "rice", just saute in a skillet over medium heat in olive oil; cover and allow the heat to steam the cauliflower until desired tenderness. You can then season your "rice" as you see fit. - Cauliflower rice can be used in any dish that calls for white rice, including sushi.

Cauliflower in place of potatoes

This applies to both mashed varieties and chopped. Instead of diced potatoes in your corned beef or breakfast-style hash, try cauliflower. It cooks up roughly the same without any additional fuss, and really provides the texture you'd expect from a good hash. The cauliflower does an excellent job of soaking up the other flavors, whether you are cooking with bacon or meat or simply spices, and is an excellent base for highly seasoned dishes.

Cauliflower also makes for a fantastic mashed potato substitute. If you are trying to shave off calories and carbs, serve up mashed cauliflower at your next meal. It's easy to prepare: Just steam the cauliflower for about 14 minutes then place in a food processor. Add some cream or buttermilk, some butter, salt and pepper, and garlic if desired. Pulse until desired consistency and serve.

Basically, the sky's the limit when it comes to subbing cauliflower for potatoes. Shredded or diced cauliflower works splendidly in other potato-heavy dishes...Cauliflower Tots and Cauliflower Pancakes (fritters) are also fantastic. Just use your imagination!

Cauliflower pizza crusts

One of the most talked about uses for cauliflower these days is as an ingredient in low-carb and gluten-free pizza crust. Preparation is a bit more involved than making mashed cauliflower, but you're using many of the same utensils. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until you have a powder – this is your flour alternative. For the specifics on preparing your cauliflower crust, see below.

Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

2 cups freshly grated mozzarella

1/4 cup Pizza Sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor to a fine snowy powder (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer the processed cauliflower to a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, wrap the cauliflower in the towel and wring out as much moisture as possible, transferring to a second towel if necessary. In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and press into a 10-inch round. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and top with the pizza sauce and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes more.

Cauliflower in place of pasta in some dishes

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, right? Well, even if you don't personally, surely you know someone who does. Cauliflower makes it possible for folks who love their mac to continue enjoying it, albeit modified. Just substitute small, bite-sized cauliflower pieces for the macaroni: Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for about five minutes; you're going for a more al dente texture, crisp-tender. Drain well and pat dry, then transfer to a baking dish. Pour your preferred cheese sauce over your "mac" and cook until browned on top and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Cauliflower in cookies

This may not seem very appetizing, but it turns out that powdered/processed cauliflower can make a pretty good substitute for regular flour in cookies. For a tasty treat, try this recipe courtesy of thesmartcookieblog.com:

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup frozen cauliflower, thawed

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used 1%)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

2 prunes, soaked in water for a couple minutes (the longer they soak, the better)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cauliflower, cottage cheese, cinnamon, ginger, milk, maple syrup, honey, and prunes in food processor. Process until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the bowl with oats. Mix to combine. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Form dough into cookies and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Let cool before removing from baking sheet and serving.

 

Fun to make after school snacks – Banana Sushi and Banana Rollups.- Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It’s back-to-school time and that means lots of changes in daily habits; and often, some unwanted stress for parents and kids alike. Here are two fun ways to give the kids an after school snack that they will look forward to and can also have fun making themselves with just a little adult supervision.

Banana Sushi

Serves 1 Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 10 mins

Ingredients

• 1 medium banana

• 1 tablespoon nut butter (any kind will work!)

• optional toppings: chopped nuts, chia seeds, shredded coconut

Instructions

Peel banana and then spread on 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Sprinkle on optional toppings and press them lightly into the nut butter to ensure they will stick. Using a sharp knife, evenly slice banana into “sushi” pieces. Enjoy right away or transfer onto a baking sheet and freeze for later!
 

Banana Roll-Ups

Serves 4 Prep Time: 10 mins  Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 (7 to 8-inch) soft flour tortillas

• 3 tablespoons peanut butter

• 2 tablespoons hot fudge ice cream topping or Nutella

• 2 bananas

• 2 teaspoons toasted wheat germ

Instructions

Spread tortillas with peanut butter. Spread chocolate topping carefully over peanut butter. Place banana in center of each tortilla. (If bananas are very curved, make 2 cuts at intervals on inside edge to make them lay straight.) Sprinkle each with wheat germ. Roll up tortillas. Cut each in half diagonally.

 

Sensational summer blueberries are now available!- Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer is the best times to purchase blueberries. This amazing fruit is officially in its peek season and not only readily available, but in its prime in both texture and flavor. You'd be hard pressed to find blueberries bursting with this much sweetness any other time of year. Why are blueberries hard to beat? Here are a few reasons:

Nutrition

Blueberries are considered a superfood. Superfoods, for those not familiar with the term, are foods (usually raw items, such as fruits and vegetables) that have been confirmed to be nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for the health and well-being of the consumer. Blueberries fall into this category because they are high in fiber and low in calories, and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals (such as K1, vitamin C and manganese) and antioxidants.

While blueberries are often eaten fresh, they make for an excellent ingredient in many baked goods, and are perfect in jams and jellies, and even juiced. They are also easy to store, lasting several days if refrigerated (be sure they are dry and free of mold before placing them in the fridge), or months if frozen.

Freezing blueberries:

There is a specific process to this if you want to maximize consistency: First, spread your blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and let them firm up in the freezer for a couple hours. Afterward, transfer them into a resealable plastic bag and pop them back in the freezer. They should keep for a few months. Note: Because freezing can break down the cellular structure of the berries, you may wind up with a less plump texture. Because of this, your best bet is to use your (still delicious!) berries in baking recipes or smoothies once they are removed from the freezer.

Try some of these fabulous blueberry recipes

For fresh blueberries, try:

If you have frozen berries:

 

Tips for Grilling Peppers- Tuesday, July 11, 2017
  • You will want to seed and stem your peppers before grilling.

  • Next, toss them in a very light coat of olive oil. This helps protect the skin and even out the heat.

  • Set up your grill so you can roast the peppers directly on the heat source – if using charcoal, make sure you have an even layer of coals. Or you can use a rack directly over the heat source.

  • Peppers should be roasted on high heat – over 450 degrees F, or with bright orange charcoals.

  • Grilling the peppers for about 5 minutes on each side should produce a nice char – watch carefully and adjust for your level of char preference.

  • Decide whether you want to eat your peppers with skin on or off. If you want to remove the skin, let the peppers sit in a bowl under plastic wrap right off the grill for about 15-20 minutes. This loosens the skin and you can peel it easily.

Here is our recipe for Grilled Assorted Peppers

Serves 4

Preparation: 5 min. Cooking: 10 min. Total: 15 min.

Ingredients

      • 2 sweet peppers - red, yellow, orange, purple

      • 2 hot banana peppers

      • 2 Gypsy sweet peppers

      • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

      • 1 tsp kosher salt

Heat a grill to medium-hot. You can core and halve or quarter the peppers, and remove the seeds, or grill smaller peppers whole. Brush the skin side of each piece with olive oil, place the peppers on the grill skin-side down, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove skin, if you like, or let diners do it themselves. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

 

Sweet, refreshing cantaloupe- Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Everyone has their favorite summer melon. For most, the watermelon has become iconic; look at stock photos of picnicking families and you will see it frequently, often alongside sandwiches, hot dogs or burgers. The reality is, come warm weather watermelon is available everywhere, and it dominates the produce department from May all the way through August. But the second most recognizable melon, the cantaloupe, is available year-round and never goes out of style. Unlike its more watery cousin, the cantaloupe is popular because its flesh is similarly sweet but much more dense, making it far better for recipes and anyone who prefers to bite into a firmer fruit.

[info courtesy of nutrition-and-you.com & organicfacts.net]

Many varieties of cantaloupes are grown all over the world. However, two common types have become popular in the western world. The European cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) derives its name from the Italian papal village of "Cantalup" and features lightly-ribbed, pale green skin that looks quite different from the North American cantaloupe. Galia melon and charentais belong to this category. North American cantaloupe (Cucumis melo reticulatus), famous in the United States and some parts of Canada, is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering.

In general, cantaloupe fruits feature round or oblong shape, measure 4.5- 6.5 inches in diameter and weigh 1-2 pounds. Internally, its flesh color ranges from orange-yellow to salmon, has a soft consistency and juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits.

What's so great about cantaloupes?

They help boost the immune system. Cantaloupes not only have the beta-carotene and phytochemicals working in its favor against free radicals, but also a healthy dose of vitamin-C. Vitamin C similarly scavenges disease-causing free radicals and act as an important line of defense for a healthy immune system. Also, vitamin-C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which seek out and destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other toxic substances.

Cantaloupes may help in preventing cancer. Cantaloupes are rich sources of beneficial nutrients, including beta-Carotene, an essential carotenoid that the body requires and a powerful antioxidant. It has been linked to reduced chances of a number of different types of cancer, and the phytochemicals present in fresh fruit like cantaloupes have also been linked to anti-tumor behavior.

Cantaloupes contain substances which are known to help maintain eye health. Cantaloupes contain carotenoids, which are associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, as is the vitamin-C content of cantaloupes.

Cantaloupes have a high amount of dietary fiber, which is an essential component of healthy bowel movements and digestive health. Eating a proper amount of dietary fiber can bulk up your stool and reduce your chances of becoming constipated, and can make your bowel movements more regular and consistent. By insuring a smooth flow through your digestive tract and colon, you reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and other dangerous gastrointestinal conditions.

Eating cantaloupes is good for your skin. Cantaloupes are wonderful places to find beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin-A, which enters the skin and stimulates the membranes of skin cells and increases regrowth and repair.

They help reduce stress and anxiety. Potassium is one of the essential nutrients found in cantaloupes. Potassium has been shown to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Excited levels of blood pressure can act as a stressor on the body, and can even induce the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Potassium also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and reduce the presence of stress hormones in the body, which can seriously reduce symptoms of anxiety.

The phytochemicals in cantaloupe also have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a proper amount of cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation of these vital areas can lead to conditions like arthritis.

Cantaloupe Recipes

There are plenty of ways to consume cantaloupe aside from raw... Not that there is anything wrong with a nice, juicy slice or cube of cantaloupe. However, eating raw cantaloupe is common; most of us have enjoyed melon slices and fruit salad numerous times over the courses of our lives. Consider this an opportunity to experiment a little with this wonderful fruit, rather than doing the same old thing!


Grilled Sea Bass with Cantaloupe-Lime Salsa

Chicken Cantaloupe Salad

Cantaloupe and Blueberries with Vanilla Sauce

Easy Fruit Tarts

Cold Melon Soup

 

Gazpacho - This summertime cold soup is not only delicious, it’s healthy! - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unfortunately, far too few Americans have ever enjoyed this delicious summertime treat, and it’s a real shame because it is quite tasty; and once you see how healthy it is, you will want to add it to your regular summer meal plans.

Originally from the Andalusian area along the south Mediterranean coast of Spain. History tells us that it has many different influences, from Greece and Rome, as well as from the Moor's and Arab culture. The original soup was blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic, with some liquid like water or vinegar that was pounded together in a mortar. Different vegetables and almonds that were available were also added. This soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular around the world being the tomato-based variety, which is served cold.

It was common for Roman soldiers to carry dried bread, garlic and vinegar to make the basics of this early soup. Christopher Columbus probably took this soup with him on his voyages from Spain. When he brought back tomatoes, cucumbers and different peppers, that is when the soup evolved to its present state. Now all kinds of things are added, such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

Here are some of our favorite homemade recipes. Note the nutritional information and the ingredient list and you will see why it’s really worth getting acquainted with.

Tamar's Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

88 cal.

0.6g

20 g

3.2 g

4.7 g

12 g

0 mg

120 mg.

 

Mexican Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

86 cal.

0.5g

21 g

3.6 g

3.9 g

12 g

0 mg

100 mg.

 

Gazpacho Andaluz - Cold Tomato Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

56 cal.

1.0g

11 g

2.2 g

2.4 g

6 g

0.2 mg

54 mg.

 

The term Gazpacho has also become synonymous with any soup served cold. Here are a few of our summer favorites:

 

Blackberry Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

210 cal.

3.8g

34 g

2.5 g

8.3 g

23 g

6.3 mg

9.4 mg.

 

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

200 cal.

0.9g

49 g

2.0 g

6.1 g

40 g

0 mg

4.2 mg.

 

 

Salmon - A popular seafood choice for Americans- Tuesday, April 25, 2017

After shrimp and canned tuna, salmon comes in as the third most consumed seafood in the US. The average American consumes 2 pounds/year. When you consider the large number who either don’t like or eat much seafood, or those with limited access to seafood, it means that some folks are eating quite a lot of salmon. While it truly is popular, there is a lot that most folks just don’t know about salmon.

The thing about salmon that makes them very recognizable versus other species of fish is their distinct pink color. We’ve even coined a name for the color, which you will find in clothing store catalogs and paint samples. “Salmon” (or “salmon pink”) is meant to describe a delicate, reddish-pink hue that has become extremely popular in recent years. However, the famous salmon color is not something that is dictated by the fish’s DNA. Instead, salmon get their color thanks to their diet. Specifically, the color comes from an anti-oxidant carotenoid called astaxanthin. This chemical is produced in the chloroplasts of yeasts and algae. Salmon don’t feed on algae and yeast, but the smaller fish on which salmon feed -- and which make up the majority of their diet -- do. Once again, it goes to prove that we are what we eat.

The most compelling thing we should know about salmon is that, generally speaking, it is good for our health. Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to a whole host of other nutrients.

Salmon is also a source of unsaturated fats -- healthy types of fat that help protect your health -- called polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Both kinds of healthy fats help normalize your heartbeat and ease inflammation, which is a response from your immune system that can increase your risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses. A 3-ounce serving of wild Atlantic salmon supplies 4.9 grams of unsaturated fats, and the same portion of coho salmon contains 4.4 grams. Three ounces of sockeye salmon have 2.5 grams of unsaturated fats, and a 3-ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon provides 7.4 grams.

Salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of dying from heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help keep your heart healthy by protecting the health of your blood vessels. They help lower triglycerides, reduce your blood pressure and prevent blood clots, effects that go a long way toward protecting your heart. Choosing salmon over red meat can help lower your cholesterol -- the waxy substance that can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack -- because salmon is much lower in saturated fat than beef, pork, and some cuts of poultry.

In addition, salmon is a very good source of protein. While the specific protein content varies depending on what type of salmon you're eating, a 3-ounce serving contains an average of about 20 to 21 grams. Eating a serving of any kind of salmon is a nutritious way to make sure you're getting plenty of protein.

A few cooking tips regarding salmon

  • Dealing with the bones - You should remove the pin bones—but carefully. Pulling them up and out of the salmon will rip up its flesh, which is not a good look. Take tweezers and carefully pull out the pin bones in the same direction the bones are oriented in the salmon’s flesh.

  • Skin, keep it or remove it? Skin is tasty and will enhance the flavor of your fish. So when you’re cooking salmon, keep that skin on. The meat itself is quite delicate and the skin provides a safety layer between your fish’s flesh and a hot pan or grill. Start with the skin-side down, and let it crisp up. Then it's easy to slide your spatula under the salmon’s skin to turn it and the flesh won’t stick to the pan. There is an exception to the keep on the skin rule, however: When poaching salmon, you will want to remove the skin first with a sharp filleting knife.

  • When poaching, add flavor to your water – There is no reason to poach your salmon in plain tap water. Add zest and flavor by spiking the water with lemon or a half head of garlic. Another good idea is to poach the salmon in dry white wine. Not only will these ideas add flavor to your fish, they go a long way in preventing your kitchen from smelling like a fish house.

  • Don’t overcook it – We’ve all heard the phrase, “Cook it till it flakes”.Turns out that this in one of the most common mistakes made when cooking salmon. If using a grill or a pan, sear salmon skin-side down on high heat until the skin is crispy, then, whether you flip your fish or not, finish cooking it on low heat. The fish’s sections should give and pull apart easily, not flake into dry pieces.

  • Enjoy the leftovers – How often do you hear people say, “I’m not saving the leftovers because reheated fish is never any good”? Perhaps that is true, but who says that you need to reheat the leftover salmon? Cold, day-old salmon is delicious; flake it into a salad, turn it into a sandwich, or just eat it straight from the fridge.

Hope we’ve piqued your taste buds and have you thinking of delicious, fresh salmon. Here is a collection of Salmon recipes that you might like to review.

 

All about eggplants- Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and peppers, eggplant is a fairly common staple throughout the world, especially in Asian countries. As Americans, many of us are familiar with the most common/classic eggplant variety -- the deep purple, somewhat pear-shaped type carried by the majority of grocery stores. However, not many of us are acquainted with all the other varieties available... and there are many!

Eggplant varieties

Here is a list of the more common types of eggplant. Note: Most of these are available year-round!

White Eggplant

Eggplant got its name because it was originally small and white, and thus looked like eggs hanging from the plant. Today, the white eggplant has a tough skin and a creamy, delicate flesh.

Italian Eggplant

Smaller, slimmer versions of the classic American eggplant; useful for sauteing if you want small slices.

Chinese Eggplant

Long and violet to purple in color, the Chinese eggplant is sweeter and more tender than a typical American eggplant. Its skin is soft, so it is rarely peeled. It is interchangeable in almost any eggplant recipe.

Japanese Eggplant

Similar to the Chinese eggplant, it has a thin skin and a sweet, delicate flavor. The Japanese eggplant is slender and can be green, pink, white, lavender or purple. Its calyus, or stem, is most often dark purple.

Indian Eggplant

The Indian eggplant is known for its tenderness and sweet flavor. It is small and round with smooth skin and a red-purple color. The skin does not need to be peeled; it can be used interchangeably with the American eggplant.

Choosing and storing an eggplant

Eggplants should be firm but not hard, and heavy for their size. Their skin should be glossy, with no bruises or brown spots, and the cap should be fresh-looking and bright green.

Eggplant can be kept for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator; after that it can become bitter. Keep it uncut in an open plastic bag. (Eggplants that were purchased wrapped should have their plastic covering removed before storage).

Health benefits of eggplant

The iron, calcium and other minerals in eggplant supply the essential nutrients required by the body.

Eggplants contain certain essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. (Most of these nutrients are concentrated in the skin of the eggplant.)

Eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full.

A few delicious eggplant recipes

 

[Info courtesy of thenibble.com & gardeningknowhow.com]

Meal Prep Made Easy- Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Everyone knows that the best way to control your weight and keep a healthy lifestyle comes down to what you eat and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. In a perfect world, you'd cook all your own meals. You'd never pick up jelly doughnuts on the way to work, eat fast food for lunch, or order pizza because you're too stressed to even think about dinner.

Sadly, it’s just not that easy to eat the way we know we should. However, with some preplanning and a little work you can make the challenge of eating healthier a whole lot easier. The secret? Meal prep. Essentially, it's the practice of spending a few hours each week making huge batches of whole grains, proteins, veggies, and snacks, ensuring that you're prepared to fight fast-food temptation with tasty, clean, home-cooked meals all week long.

For starters, why not use one of the most versatile and easy to prepare meal bases -- pasta. That’s right, toss your favorite noodles, a bunch of raw ingredients and some water into a pot, and in just a matter of minutes you can have a tasty dinner for you and your family.

Here are some recipe suggestions for pasta meals to get you started.

Pasta Primavera

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Easy Carbonara

Tagliatelle and Italian Sausage

Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce

 

 

Asparagus, the "food of kings"- Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Asparagus may not officially be royalty, but it sometimes is referred to as the “food of kings,” and "the aristocrat” of vegetables. Cultivated for more than 2,000 years, asparagus was prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans for both taste and the medicinal properties they believed it possessed. King Louis XIV of France loved asparagus so much he had special greenhouses built, so he could enjoy the vegetable year-round.

Not only does asparagus taste delicious, it offers us a rich supply of nutrients. Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. It’s also a good source of antioxidants. This is just the beginning of a long list of health benefits attributable to asparagus, but we all want to eat it, not think about it. Why not consider some of these asparagus recipes and see if you don’t feel a bit more regal?

Asparagus and Jack Cheese Frittata

Risotto with Portobello Mushrooms and Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus Soup

Marinated Asparagus Salad

Steamed Asparagus

Chicken and Fresh Asparagus Casserole