Friday, June 11, 2010

Mexican Bison Stew

Mexican cooks are great at turning tough chunks of meat into delicious and tender stews. This one, which uses tougher cuts of bison, such as chuck or brisket, is flavored with chili powder, cumin and tequila. Serve with warm tortillas.
 Serves 8

3 tablespoon chili powder, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds bison chuck, or brisket, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
3 mild green chiles, such as Anaheim or poblano, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup tequila, or water
1 15-ounce c white or yellow hominy, (see Note), rinsed
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon lime juice
3 cups diced (1-inch pieces) patty pan, chayote or summer squash (see Tip)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 lime wedges
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup finely chopped red onion

Step 1
Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, salt and cumin in a large bowl. Add bison and toss to coat.
Step 2
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add half the meat and brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and brown the rest of the meat. Transfer to the plate.
Step 3
Add onion to the pot and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chiles and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder and stir until the vegetables are well coated. Add tequila (or water), scrape up any browned bits, and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in hominy, tomatoes, broth, orange juice, lime juice and the reserved bison. Return to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook until the bison is easily pierced with a fork, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Step 4
Stir in squash and cook until just tender, 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the type of squash. Season with pepper. Serve the stew with lime wedges, cilantro, cabbage and red onion on the side, if desired.

Prepare through Step 3; let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Skim any fat from the top, reheat and finish with Step 4.


Note: Hominy is white or yellow corn treated with lime to remove the tough hull and germ. Canned cooked hominy can be found in the Latin section of large supermarkets—near the beans—or at Latin markets.
Per serving
Calories: 301
Carbohydrates: 25g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 28g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 75mg
Potassium: 571mg
Sodium: 574mg
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Broccoli-Bacon Salad

A picnic favorite, this salad combines broccoli, water chestnuts, cranberries and just a little bacon for delicious results. Our version has plenty of creaminess without all the fat. Make it once and it will become a regular on your backyard barbecue menu.
 Serves 6.

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups finely chopped broccoli crowns, (see Tip)
1 8-ounce ca sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
3 tablespoon dried cranberries
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Step 1
Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar and sugar in a large bowl. Add broccoli, water chestnuts, bacon, cranberries and pepper; stir to coat with the dressing.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Tip: Most supermarkets sell broccoli crowns, which are the tops of the bunches, with the stalks cut off. Although crowns are more expensive than entire bunches, they are convenient and there is considerably less waste.
Per serving
Calories: 89
Carbohydrates: 12g
Fat: 4g
Protein: 4g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Potassium: 193mg
Sodium: 200mg
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 fat
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Beet Salad

It's time we rescued beets from our childhood nightmares—when they were little better than bland wedges scooped out of a can. Roasted beets are delightful, sweet but very earthy and aromatic—great for a side salad.
 Serves 8.

2 pounds beets, (5-6 medium)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400°F. Divide beets between 2 pieces of foil; bring edges together and crimp to make packets. Roast until the beets are just tender when pierced with the point of a knife, about 1 1/4 hours. Unwrap the beets and let cool.
Step 2
Meanwhile, whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl to make dressing.
Step 3
When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Add celery, shallot and the dressing; toss to coat well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Per serving
Calories: 120
Carbohydrates: 12g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 2g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 5g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Potassium: 404mg
Sodium: 243mg
Exchanges: 2 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat
Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Exercise Can Help Control Stress - Exercising with Health Challenges - FitFacts - American Council On Exercise(ACE)

Exercise Can Help Control Stress - Exercising with Health Challenges - FitFacts - American Council On Exercise(ACE)

Exercise Can Help Control Stress

People who exercise regularly will tell you they feel better. Some will say it’s because chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are produced in the brain, are stimulated during exercise. Since it’s believed that neurotransmitters mediate people’s moods and emotions, they can make you feel better and less stressed.

While there’s no scientific evidence to conclusively support the neurotransmitter theory, there is plenty to show that exercise provides stress-relieving benefits.

There are four ways in which exercise controls stress:

  • Exercise can help you feel less anxious—Exercise is being prescribed in clinical settings to help treat nervous tension. Following a session of exercise, clinicians have measured a decrease in electrical activity of tensed muscles. People are often less jittery and hyperactive after an exercise session.
  • Exercise can relax you—One exercise session generates 90 to 120 minutes of relaxation response. Some people call this post-exercise euphoria or endorphin response. Many neurotransmitters, not just endorphins, are involved. The important thing, though, is not what they’re called, but what they do: They improve your mood and leave you relaxed.
  • Exercise can make you feel better about yourself—Think about those times when you’ve been physically active. Haven’t you felt better about yourself? That feeling of self-worth contributes to stress relief.
  • Exercise can make you eat better—People who exercise regularly tend to eat more nutritious food. And it’s no secret that good nutrition helps your body manage stress better.

It’s Time to Get Started

Now that you know exercise can make a big difference in controlling stress, make some time for regular physical activity. We’ll help you get started by listing three activities you can choose from:

  • Aerobic activity—All it takes is 20 minutes, six to seven days a week. Twenty minutes won’t carve a big chunk out of your day, but it will significantly improve your ability to control stress.
  • Yoga—In yoga or yoga-type activities, your mind relaxes progressively as your body increases its amount of muscular work. Studies have shown that when large muscle groups repeatedly contract and relax, the brain receives a signal to release specific neurotransmitters, which in turn make you feel relaxed and more alert.
  • Recreational sports—Play tennis, racquetball, volleyball or squash. These games require the kind of vigorous activity that rids your body of stress-causing adrenaline and other hormones.

Not Just Any Exercise Will Do

Don’t try exercising in your office. Outdoors or away from the office is the best place to find a stress-free environment. Even a corporate fitness center can trigger too many work-related thoughts for some people.

Stay away from overcrowded classes. If you work surrounded by people, a big exercise class may be counterproductive. Solo exercise may be more relaxing for you. If, however, you work alone, you may enjoy the social benefit of exercising in a group. A lot depends on your personality and what causes stress for you.

Don’t skip a chance to exercise. Take a break every 90 minutes and you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Ninety-minute intervals are a natural work-break period. And four 10-minute exercise breaks will burn about as many calories as a solid 40-minute session. Work-break exercises can be as simple as walking or climbing stairs, stretching or doing calisthenics.

Controlling stress comes down to making the time to exercise. You’re worth it!

Additional Resource

American Psychological Association—Exercise Helps Keep Your Psyche Fit:

For more ACE FitFacts click here!

Thoughts for the Day

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
--Maya Angelou

Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.

Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.
--Josh Billings

Look to the future, because that is where you'll spend the rest of your life.
--George Burns

It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.
--Leo Buscaglia

A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.
--Thomas Carlyle

Be the change you want to see in the world.
--Mahatma Gandhi

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
----Napolean Hill

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
--Theodore Roosevelt

Results are in!

My doctor had me take IgG and IgE antibody test. The test is performed by US Bio Tek Laboratories. It is a test regarding my immune system's response to certain foods, spices, herbs and/or inhalants.  For a more detailed description of the testing and how they come about their results click here.

My reactive foods that I need to avoid are:  almonds, banana, egg white, egg yolk, oyster, rye, spelt, wheat gliadin, wheat gluten, and whole wheat.  These foods are highly reactive.  Foods that are moderately reactive are:  barley, common mushrooms, garlic, oat, pineapple--which should also be avoided.  I am not sure what to eat anymore! 

One thing is for sure, I am glad that we are getting some answers.  It may take some time to adjust to my new eating lifestyle, but if it is going to help me feel better without weird drugs or side effects, I am all for it!  I go in on Monday to discuss my results with the doctor so I am sure I will have more information then!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

10 Things to Do With Chicken Breasts

10 Things to Do With Chicken Breasts
  • Article By: Bruce Weinstein
Running out of ways to cook this quick and easy staple? Here are 10 tasty new ideas.
Bake them.
Place the breasts on a sheet of foil or parchment paper. Try one of these two toppings:
  • Halved cherry tomatoes, sliced fennel and lemon wedges for Mediterranean flavor
  • Shredded mustard greens, zucchini strips, thyme and a splash of apple juice for a Southern take
Bake in a 425°F oven for about 20 minutes.
Use a spice rub.
Grind dried spices in a spice grinder or in a clean coffee grinder. Our favorite combinations are:
  • Rosemary, parsley, oregano and lemon zest
  • Cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano and a pinch of cayenne
Massage the mixture into the chicken breasts, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours. Broil, grill or sauté chicken breasts for about 20 minutes over medium-high heat.
Pound them flat.
Arrange the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap, then pound them to 1/4-inch thickness with a heavy saucepan or rolling pin. Spread one of these two mixtures over the breasts:
  • Frozen, chopped spinach, dill and Dijon mustard
  • Chopped, fresh arugula leaves, diced tomatoes and rosemary
Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Roll up the breasts with the filling inside and place the rolls seam-side-down in the casserole dish. Bake at 425°F for about 30 minutes, basting them twice with a splash of cranberry juice.
Try a stir-fry.
Cut the breasts into strips. Spray a wok with nonstick cooking spray, then sauté minced garlic, shredded ginger and chopped scallions over high heat. Add the chicken strips, some vermouth and a splash of reduced-sodium soy sauce; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Toss in sliced carrots, broccoli florets or watercress; continue stir-frying until the chicken is cooked through.
Use pre-made sauce.
Chop the breasts into 1-inch cubes, and then mix them in a saucepan with your favorite jarred marinara sauce. Cook the chicken mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through; serve over whole-wheat pasta or brown rice.
Steam them.
Cut the breasts into strips and steam them with your favourite vegetables and an aromatic herb. For an Asian twist, try snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and crushed lemongrass. Discard the lemongrass before serving.
Make kabobs.
Cut the breasts into small pieces then slide them onto metal skewers, or wooden skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes. Add on your veggies of choice: onion wedges, green pepper slices or yellow squash. Grill or broil the skewers for about 20 minutes, basting occasionally with apple juice.
Chicken Cooking Tips
As you prepare the breasts, follow these three general tips:
Don't poke the breasts with a fork.
Use tongs or a spatula to turn the breasts over the heat. Every hole in the meat allows moisture to escape.
Salt them at the end.
Salt pulls out moisture; only add it to a completed chicken dish, just before serving.
Let the breasts rest.
After the cooking is done, let the breasts sit at room temperature for five minutes before serving so that the natural juices can reincorporate into the meat.
Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are the authors of Cooking for Two (Morrow Cookbooks, 2004).

How to Curb Kid-Food Snaking!

How to Curb Kid-Food Snacking
  • Article By: Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Finishing your kids' leftovers or digging into their snack bags can cost you, especially when you add up all that food over the course of a week.
I was making my kids' lunches the other night and before I knew it, I'd eaten four Wheat Thins, a slice of turkey, three strawberries and okay, I admit, a handful of vanilla wafers. Not the most offensive items but I'll pay a price for my mooching-off-my-children's-food habit if I don't get it under control. And I know I'm not alone.

Whether it's finishing off those last few bites of macaroni and cheese, pizza crust or ice pop (so it doesn't drip all over the car seat, of course), eating your kids' leftovers can really add up. Success Story Coordinator and New York City Leader Elizabeth Josefsberg estimates that each mouthful of their food you consume can cost you as much as 1 POINTS® value.
"It's usually something gooey and unhealthy," she says, and those high-calorie foods can have a big impact on your weight if you don't track them. Reality Check
Don't think it happens that often? Josefsberg suggests that for every morsel of food you steal from the kids, place that same amount of food in a bowl or write it down on a piece of paper and toss the papers into the bowl. Add them up at the end of a week for a reality check. I was shocked when I tried this recently: 28 extra POINTS values in seven days.
Wow! It was time to take control. So I loaded up on sugar-free gum. I pop a piece when I'm packing or unpacking my kids' lunch boxes, when I'm craving some of their treats or, quite frankly, any time I want to eat even though I know I'm not hungry.
For non-gum chewers, brushing your teeth with strong mint toothpaste works just as well. After all, mint and chicken fingers are not a particularly good flavor combination. Other tactics to help resist kiddie-food temptations include:

  • Eat together as a family so you have your own plate of food.
  • Provide meals and snacks more in line with your healthier eating habits so there's less around to tempt you.
  • Plan for a snack during your children's meals—unless you eat together—so snatching food off their plates is less of an issue. Keep a big pot of No POINTS Value Vegetable Soup in the fridge.
  • Keep a stash of flavored coffees and teas for virtually calorie-free sipping while they eat. (I personally love naturally sweet licorice root tea.)
  • Read to your kids during their meal and snack times so your hands—and mouth—are busy.
  • Chat on the phone when you make dinner or clear the dishes so that you're less likely to nibble.
  • Use your baby's spoons to taste test food that you're cooking for the family so you get the smallest mouthful possible.
  • Have your own low POINTS value snacks tucked away in the diaper bag and car so you're not stuck with Teddy Grahams when hunger strikes.
The Bottom Line
While we should try to feed our kids grilled chicken, sautéed fresh vegetables and brown rice, many of us—including me—don't always get around to it. So here's a rundown of the POINTS values in kiddie foods you might find yourself sinking your teeth into.
Food Item POINTS value per serving
6 gummy bears 1
1 1/2 chicken nuggets 2
1 Oreo cookie 1
1/4 thin crust fast-food pizza slice (1 slice is 1/8th of a 12-inch pie) 1
1/2 cup apple juice 1
1/3 cup macaroni and cheese 3
1/2 medium serving fast-food french fries 3
1 oz Teddy Grahams (about 22 pieces) 3
1/3 ice cream sandwich 1
1/2 cup dry cheerios 1
1/4 grilled cheese sandwich 3
1/4 cup raisins 2
1/3 granola bar 1
1/2 cup plain cooked pasta 2
1 oz plain M&Ms (about 35 pieces) 3
3 saltine crackers 1
1 small Tootsie Roll Tootsie pop 1
1/4 peanut butter and jelly sandwich 2

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dusted off the Juicer tonight!

Today I went to Costco and bought tons of veggies and bag of apples to make some juice! Trista, who is almost 4, has been asking for some carrot juice. So, tonight for her treat after dinner I made the kids a juice. I used 3 whole apples, 6 carrots, and a handful of spinach leaves. They loved it! So I made myself a juice too! I used 6 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 garlic cloves, and 3 roma tomatoes. Wow, did the garlic ever make is spicy! But it should help with the over growth of yeast in my body! My plan is to make a juice daily for the family! I will let you know how it goes!

Curried Tilapia with Eggplant

I made this for dinner YUMMY! I served it with baby red potatoes.

1 medium egglant
cooking spray
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
curry powder, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 (5 ounce) tilapia fillets or other white fish

Preheat broiler to 450 degrees F.
To prepare eggplant, cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Lightly spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Lay eggplant pieces and halved cherry tomatoes on foil in preheated broiler. Sprinkle veggies with curry powder and pepper, to taste. Broil for 2-3 minutes, turn eggplant slices with tongs, spray with cooking spray, and continue to broil another 2-3 minutes. They should turn slightly brown and curl up a bit on the edges; the tomatoes will brown and be quiet soft. The eggplant becomes soft and very creamy when done, in approximately 3-4 more minutes.
To prepare fish, coat a skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add fish and saute 4 minutes per side. Place skillet in oven and bake for 4 minutes while the veggies are cooking. Serve fish on top of the eggplant and tomatoes.

Makes 4 servings
Nutrition per serving
Calories 175
Fat 5 g
Protein 23 g
Sodium 128 mg
Fiber 3.8 g
Carbohydrate 9 g