Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe: Thai Pizza with Peanut Sauce!

      Keeping in the spirit of Asian inspired dishes, as well as finding a use for the leftover ingredients from my egg rolls, I created this delicous Thai Pizza with peanut sauce!

      I used my breadmaker to make a whole wheat pizza crust. You could use a store bought crust too if you don't feel like making one! If you plan to make one using your breadmaker there should be a recipe for a pizza crust in the manual/recipe guide.

      I placed the pizza dough on a hot pizza stone and then spread the peanut sauce on the dough.

Peanut Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 table spoon rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I use a garlic press)
1 tablespoon ginger, shredded
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
splash of water, enough to make the sauce smooth and spreadable
optional: red pepper flakes

    The peanut sauce can be used for stir fry too!

     Then I chopped up all the toppings. You can mix and match what type of toppings you want to include on your pizza. I used:
red cabbage
green onions
bean sprouts
herbs: cilantro, mint, basil
mozarella cheese

     I spread the toppings on top of the sauce and baked in the oven at 415 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and the crust was browned. You can see that I used fresh mozarella. I had it left over from another dish but you can use shredded cheese too!

     I hope you enjoy this pizza!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baked Veggie Egg Rolls!

     Last night for dinner I made some delicious veggie egg rolls. I had actually originally intended to make spring rolls but could not find the wrappers anywhere! So I decided to make egg rolls instead, and ended up being very happy with them!

Baked Veggie Egg Roll Recipe

olive oil
1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced
1/2 cup of carrots, julienne
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup of mint leaves, cilantro, and Thai basil, finely chopped
1 package egg rolls wrappers (usually found near the tofu in grocery stores)
dash of salt and pepper
dipping sauces (I used sweet and sour, soy sauce, and hot mustard)

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet. Saute cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, and herbs until just tender. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

When the veggie mixture is done sauteing, let it cool. Then add a small amount of the mixture to the center of the egg roll wrapper and wrap according the directions on the back of the package (it's actually very easy!). Place the egg rolls on a cooking sheet. Once all the egg rolls are on the sheet, brush the tops lightly with olive oil.

Bake on the center rack for about 10 minutes, or until the egg rolls are beginning to turn golden brown. Enjoy with your selected dipping sauces!

    You can add whatever ingredients you want for the filling of these. It can be a fun activity with kids to have them fill their own egg rolls. Enjoy!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Appetizer Alert!

      I don't know about you guys, but joining Pinterest ( ) has given me inspiration to try lots of new recipes! I made these little caprese bites for the Super Bowl party last weekend!

     Super delicious and, unlike most Super Bowl snacks, super healthy too! A pretty basic recipe, but find the original here

    P.S. I loved that Super Bowl commercial for the Honda CR-V with Mathew Broderick! If you didn't see it (or want to see it again like me), watch it here:

Cheers, Brittney

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Adventurous Eaters Club!

      Over the weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying a sushi dinner with some of my co-workers! Here are some of the rolls we ordered:

     My favorite was the green one on the left called the Mountain Dew Roll! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Take on Coconut Water

      Food trend alert: Coconut Water! This liquid extracted from inside young coconuts has been making headlines lately. Celebs are drinking it, and marketers are claiming that it's an "all natural" sports drink.

      What's so great about the latest nutrition craze? One thing manufacturers are are pointing out is it's high level of potassium, around 650mg per box (coconut water usually comes in a 12-ish ounce juice box-like container). Compare that to a banana, which is a food that is usually noted for it's high level of potassium, at 422mg for a medium sized fruit. The average adult requires about 4700mg of potassium per day to maintain health.

     The comparison to a sports drink comes from coconut water's high level of potassium, as well as its sodium sodium content. For sodium, it has around 20mg per box. A typically sports drink like Gatorade has about 45mg potassium, and 165mg sodium. These electrolytes (potassium and sodium) are lost in sweat during exercise. However, because the average person does not work out as strenuously as a professional athlete, which Gatorade was designed for, water is ideal for re-hydrating the body after a workout! And of course, American's get sodium from other foods, and it is unlikely for the average person to take in too little!

      Of course, added sugars are something that have been gaining lot of attention lately. As for the sugar content of Coconut Water, this particular brand contained 11 grams per box. Not terrible compared to pop which has around 41 grams per 12 ounces or Gatorade with around 21 grams per 12 ounces. The particular brand of coconut water that I tried had about 60 calories per 12 ounces, which is less than Gatorade, at about 75 calories, but more than water at 0 calories!

      As for taste, I am not a big fan. It is kind of stale tasting and not very sweet. I can't really compare it to anything in particular but I definitely prefer plain water!

      All-in-all, I find that Coconut Water can be enjoyed occasionally, much like juice or pop. Water is best for re-hydrating after a workout, and doesn't contain added calories. You can meet your potassium requirement by eating fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and bananas. So, treat yourself to a Coconut Water on occasion if you so choose, but stick with your standard water for regular hydration and daily drinking!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's the Scoop with Iron?

       Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Most of the iron we have in our bodies is recycled, but some is lost through the stool. What is lost must be replaced from the foods we eat to prevent iron deficiency.

     There are two types of iron found in our food supply. One is found in animal products such as meat, and the other is found mostly from plant sources. The type of iron found in animal sources is more easily absorbed  by our bodies then the iron from plant sources. For this reason, iron deficiency may be a concern for those people who do not eat meat. If you are a vegetarian you may want to discuss with your doctor or Registered Dietitian about having your iron level checked regularly.

     Our bodies' can detect how much iron is available in storage and will absorb more iron from the food we eat if our level is low. Our bodies can do a better job of absorbing the iron from plant food if we have vitamin C or animal protein in our digestive tract at the same time as the iron. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume a food with Vitamin C (see below) at the same time as a food with iron if you are trying to increase your iron level!

     Foods that provide iron include:

  • liver
  • seafood
  • kidney and heart
  • lean meat
  • poultry
  • beans
  • spinach
  • potato skins
  • egg yolks
  • whole grain and enriched breads, cereals, and rice
  • dark molasses 

Foods that provide Vitamin C include:

  • citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes)
  • tomatoes and tomato juice
  • potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • strawberries
  • cabbage
  • spinach

     Iron deficiency is most common in children and women of childbearing age. It can also occur when large amounts of blood are lost, such as with severe injury. Iron deficiency can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include: decreased physical ability, impaired cognitive ability, delayed development in infants, and during pregnancy: increased risk of premature delivery, low birth weight babies, and infant mortality. If you believe that you or your child may be iron deficient, schedule and appointment with your doctor to have your iron level checked.

     The Recommended Daily Allowances for Iron are as follows:

Birth to 13 years: 7-11mg/day
14 to 18 years: Males: 11mg/day; Females: 15mg/day
19 to 50 years: Males: 8/mg/day; Females: 18mg/day
50+: 8mg/day

Pregnancy: 27mg/day

Lactation: 9-10mg/day

     Now you've got the scoop on iron!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Fig Spread and Sweet Potato Fries!

     One of my favorite dinners when I don't have much time, or don't feel like making a big production! Grilled cheese on sourdough bread with fig spread (Obviously a favorite, as I've blogged about it before!). This is adapted from a seasonal promotion that Cosi ( ran in 2010.

     Fresh sweet potato fries are super easy. Chop a washed sweet potato into strips. I spritz the sticks with olive oil from and oil sprayer then sprinkle them with whatever spices I'm in the mood for. Usually a little bit of garlic salt or seasoning salt. Bake them in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 8 minutes on each side. Voila!

     Have some fresh fruit for dessert and you're all set! Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's the Scoop with Food Allergies?

      The prevalence of food allergies is on the rise and the public is taking notice. Especially those members of the public with young children that are beginning to have exposure to foods that are common allergens. Food allergies are a major health concern and reactions can range from mild irritation to severe, life threatening responses.

     Food allergies and food intolerances are commonly confused. By definition, a food allergy is an improper immune system response to a food protein that is usually harmless by means of ingestion, inhalation or touch. Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to a food or chemical substance in a food. True food allergies are more common in young children than older children and adults. Prevalence of true food allergy is estimated to be about 6-8% in children and 3-4% in adults.

     Symptoms of food allergies or intolerance vary greatly from one person to the next. Some may include: skin rash, runny nose, wheezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, or anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be fatal. It is a severe immune response which can include symptoms such as: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, low blood pressure, shock, and death. Symptoms of a food allergy or food intolerance can develop immediately or may take several hours to appear.

      Foods that are most typically associated with food allergies or intolerance include: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, wheat, soy, and egg.

     Diagnosis of a food allergy is a complex process because technically food allergy is associated with an immunologic response. First, a problem food must be identified, then it must be documented as causing an adverse reaction, and finally verified that the reaction is an immune response. Diagnosis often includes a full medical evaluation, food history, elimination of the suspected food, and controlled and monitored reintroduction of the food.

      Currently the only proven treatment of a food allergy is total avoidance of the offending food. This can be very challenging if a person has multiple food allergies, or when a person is allergic to a food that is found within many other food products. Your Registered Dietitian can help you plan a healthy, balanced diet while still avoiding foods that cause allergic responses.

     If you believe that you or your child is experiencing an allergic reaction seek immediate medical attention by calling 911. If you suspect that you or your child has a food allergy consult your doctor. Your primary care physician will likely refer you to an allergy specialist for further evaluation. Keep in mind that eliminating a food group from your diet due to a suspected or confirmed food allergy may lead to nutritional deficiency, seek the guidance of a Registered Dietitian for help consuming a balanced diet despite required dietary restriction.

     For further information on food allergies, contact your physician or Registered Dietitian.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Recipe: Re-fried Bean Tostadas with Tomatillo Salsa!

    A fairly simple little dish I concocted using some traditional Mexican ingredients. I am absolutely in love with Mexican food and am always trying out new recipes at home! This recipe is also meatless of course, and includes a variety of vegetables to provide lots of nutrients!

    First of all, I made the tomatillo salsa, which I adapted from my all-time favorite cookbook: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Tomatillos can be found at many grocery stores near the fresh peppers. If you cannot find them there, Whole Foods or other specialty stores usually has them. This recipe is sooooo easy!

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe:
5 tomatillos 
1 small red onion
1 jalapeno
1 clove garlic
cilantro, to taste
dash of salt

    First, boil the tomatillos for about 10 minutes until they turn dull green.

     I used this tip that I just learned to make sure the tomatillos were evenly cooked in the boiling water. Weigh them down with a plate so part of them is not sticking out of the water! Brilliant! (Make sure your plate is heat resistant, and be careful when you remove it because it will be hot! I used tongs to remove the plate.)

    While they are boiling,  roughly chop the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic.

      Put it all in the food processor until smooth. And voila! The salsa will keep in the fridge for about a week!

    I refrigerated the salsa for about an hour and then assembled the tostadas. You can add whatever you like to your tostadas. This can be a fun recipe to get kids involved in the kitchen. Letting the kids assemble their own tostadas is a good way to encourage them to try new veggies!

My Tostadas:
Crunchy tostada shell
Vegetarian re-fried beans
frozen corn kernels
chopped red onion
crumbly Mexican queso
sliced avocados
tomatillo salsa

     I added the beans, corn, onion, and cheese and then baked in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes to heat the beans and warm the cheese. Then I added the rest of the ingredients. Yum!

      I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is very easy and can be adapted to include your favorite ingredients! Enjoy!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year: Tips for Making Your Resolution Stick!

     Happy New Year to my lovely readers! I hope you had a fabulous holiday season and got to enjoy some delicious food without feeling [too] guilty! The holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. And our celebrations are hugely centered around food! Of course, as always, listening to what our bodies are telling us about hunger and satiety, and not overdoing it too much!

     Maybe you have made some resolutions for yourself this year that involve your health, specifically your nutrition. If so, hopefully you will find some valuable tips on this post, as well as recipes and other tips from past blog posts that can help you make some healthy changes in the new year.

    There are many people that are opposed to making new years resolutions because they believe setting goals for yourself should be something that is done all year long. However, I believe that as long as you follow some simple guidelines, making a new years resolution to improve your health and nutrition can be very worthwhile.

     Here are my tips for making and maintaining healthy changes for the long term:

1. Make sure your goal(s) are specific and concrete. For example, 'to eat out less' is not a resolution that you are likely to achieve or maintain in for the long term. Instead, think more along the lines of 'I will only eat fast food once per week'. Maybe you are someone who eats fast food 3 times per week right now, and reducing it to 1 time per week would be an excellent improvement! Having a specific number to stick to makes your goal more concrete and easier to self-monitor. Then, as you begin to feel comfortable with this achievement, you can reduce how often you eat out even further!

2. Write down your goal(s) and keep them in a place you can see them daily! This will remind you of what you are working towards and keep you on track if you are tempted to slip!

3. Start small, and know that making small changes that you can maintain and make habits of is much more sustainable in the long run. Instead of making a list of 10 things to change in the new year, make a list of maybe two or three. Then after several months (a time frame that you should determine when you write your goals down), when you feel that your change(s) have become solid habits, attempt another healthy change!

4. Have consistency with your eating. Eat on a regular schedule and plan your meals ahead of time! For example, bring your lunch to work instead of eating out. This prevents you from running to a fast food restaurant or springing for an unhealthy entree because you are hungry and your stomach is deciding what to eat instead of your head!

5. Plan in snacks so you are not famished at meal time. If meal time rolls around and you have not eaten in 4 or 5 hours you are likely to be starving. This will lead to over eating and derail your efforts!

5. Keep a food journal! People who keep a journal are more successful at maintaining their nutrition goals. At the end of the day if you are craving an unhealthy snack look back at your journal to remind yourself of what else you have eaten that day. It is easy to forget small things that might really add up. Also, keeping a journal forces you to take notice of your portion sizes and prevents overeating without noticing! Include what food you ate, what time you ate it, and how much you ate. Be honest; no one has to see it but you!

6. Do not let one slip-up destroy your entire resolution! Just because you slipped up once (or twice, or three times!) does not mean your have fallen off track! Stay strong and remind yourself that once your healthy changes become habits they will stay with you, and the sense of accomplishment you feel will be worth it!

     I hope these tips are helpful to you! Given the right planning and effort a new years resolution can be have a real impact on your health and nutrition. And don't be afraid to make a April (or any other month!) resolution too! Healthy changes all year long is never a bad idea!