Monday, January 1, 2007

Recipies and such

This is an email Dr. P's office sent out at the beginning of December. The suggestions here are good year-round, plus there are some interesting recipies. I'm planning to try a couple of them this week.

Celebrate with Seasonal Tips & Guilt-Free Recipes

The winter and holiday season can seem like a five- or six-week buffet. But with some simple preparation, many of us can make it through the season without getting any heavier. So eat, drink, and be merry. But most of all, be healthy!

6 Tips for Success

1. Set realistic goals. Expecting to lose weight amongst all the celebrations is probably unrealistic and will make you feel guilty if you don't. Instead, plan to keep your weight and body fat percentage the same. Allow yourself an occasional indulgence, but don't go overboard. Even if you only maintain your present weight and/or body fat percentage, then that's still an accomplishment! Don't get discouraged and quit—just resolve to make a new goal for the new year and move ahead full steam!

2. Eat a low-glycemic-load diet. Eat foods that have a low glycemic load (GL)—such as vegetables, lean proteins, and fiber-rich carbs—which help you stay fuller longer, maintain a smaller rise in blood glucose levels after meals, prolong physical endurance, and keep insulin levels low to burn fat more efficiently and help you lose weight. Research suggests that consumption of high-GL foods (sweets, simple carbs, processed foods, sodas) may promote obesity by causing you to eat more. Other evidence suggests that following a diet comprised of primarily low-GL foods may be important in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. So stick to low-GL foods for high yields in health!

3. Eat frequent, small meals. It's good advice year round, but especially during party season. Don't go to a party or event on an empty stomach. The trick is to continue eating the recommended six small meals a day so you never get to the state of hunger that wears down your resistance. Before going out, have a small meal or healthy snack that includes protein, which satisfies hunger and helps you eat less.

4. Increase your activity. In addition to lifting your spirits, exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle program. Even if your eating habits stray (just a little), you can still stay on the track to better health by expanding your current exercise routine to burn those extra calories.

5. Plan your indulgences wisely. If you are going to give into temptation, do so with thought. Don't waste your calories on foods you don't really love. Scope out the scene, ID the food you can't live without and go for it (ideally a small portion). Following are some common buffet items that you can feel good about (next to your favorite indulgence):
Veggies (skip the dip) Sliced turkey & chicken
Smoked salmon Hummus and pita bread
Salsa Mixed greens (no dressing)
Bean salad Lean roasted lamb or beef
Fruit (berries, melons) Black-eyed peas
Fresh shellfish Nuts (not candied)
Sweet potatoes (no marshmallows) Green bean casserole (w/o fried onions)
Brown rice Lettuce wraps
Guacamole Chicken fajita meat & veggies

6. Relax and enjoy. Stress management is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Don't let the holidays run you down or stress you out. Simplify traditions, watch your commitments and don't get caught up in the rush. Make time to enjoy the season's sights, sounds, and flavors!

Creating Non-Guilty Taste Pleasures

Try these great recipes to make a part of your winter traditions or everyday meals. They'll also make a great addition to the gatherings you attend. Savor the flavor without the guilt!

Warm Mushroom Salad Serves 6

1 tbsp. olive oil 1/2 cup water
1/2 pound mushrooms 1 pinch salt
3 cloves minced garlic 1 pinch fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. each, basil & marjoram 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 medium tomato, diced
3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Heat oil on low in a frying pan, then gently sauté the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.

Sprinkle in garlic and basil, then toss the mixture for a minute or two so that mushrooms are well coated. Add the tomato, lemon juice, water, salt, and pepper. Stir together and cook until the tomato softens. Remove from heat and let cool. Garnish with chopped herbs.

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan Serves 6-8
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (substitute canned if necessary) 1 tsp. each, basil & oregano
1/3 cup sliced green onions Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Place the squash, cut side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350o for about 30-45 minutes or until a knife pierces the skin without resistance. Allow the squash to cool and scoop out and discard the seeds. Using a fork, scrape the flesh into strands. In a Dutch oven or large pot, add tomatoes, green onions, Parmesan, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat with sauce. Cook 1 minute over medium-high heat to heat through.

Pumpkin Custard Serves 4
2 eggs 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup agave syrup 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned or pureed pumpkin 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ginger Butter

Butter a shallow, 1 1/2 quart baking dish. In a medium mixing bowl, mix eggs, syrup, and 1 1/2 cups pumpkin. Slowly mix in milk. In a separate medium bowl, mix spices. Add liquid mixture to spice mixture and pour into prepared baking dish. Set dish in a large baking pan. Add hot water to the large pan to a depth of about 1 inch. It should come about halfway up the side of the inner baking dish. Bake for about 50 minutes at 325° or until custard is set and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving; can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Deviled Eggs Yields 12
6 large boiled eggs
3-4 Tbsp. roasted tomato hummus
Paprika (optional)

To boil eggs, place eggs in enough cold water to cover completely, bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a lower MEDIUM BOIL and cook an additional 12 minutes. Promptly chill eggs so yolks stay bright yellow. Remove shells from eggs, and halve lengthwise with a knife. Carefully remove the yolks, and place in a medium bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and add tomato hummus. Very carefully spoon mixture back into the egg white halves. Garnish with a light sprinkling of paprika.

Fruit Salad Serves 6
1 large bag of frozen mangoes (or 3 fresh mangoes) Other fruit of choice
3 kiwis, sliced 1/2 cup chopped nuts (e.g., walnuts)
2 large oranges, divided into sections 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 pint fresh berries (if available) Stevia or agave syrup (optional)

Defrost bag of frozen mangoes or cut up fresh mangoes and put in a pretty bowl for serving. Add kiwi fruits, oranges, and fresh berries. (Frozen berries will lose their shape and are not advised. Pomegranate berries add beautiful color and are a healthy addition.) You may add any other acceptable fruit of choice. Top with chopped nuts yogurt. Gently stir to mix. If the taste it too tart, add a sprinkle of stevia or mix in some agave syrup.

Veggie Egg Wrap Serves 6
1 small onion, chopped 6 eggs
2 Tsp. olive oil 1/2 cup grated part skim mozzarella
3/4 cup leftover veggies of choice (mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers) 6 low carb tortillas

Sauté onion in 1 tsp. olive oil, stirring until softened. Add veggies and mix until warm. Remove from pan. Add 1 tsp. more olive oil and scramble eggs with cheese until almost done. Stir in veggies and continue to cook until done. Fill tortillas with egg scramble and serve immediately.

Green Beans Almondine Serves 4
10 oz. pkg frozen French style green beans 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Steam green beans for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened. In a separate pan, sauté onion in olive oil. When onion is softened, add almonds and continue to sauté until just beginning to brown slightly. Add cooked green beans and stir to mix well. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Delight Serves 8
1 large sweet potato or yam (peeled and cut into small pieces) 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 small Butternut squash (peeled and cut into small pieces) Lowfat milk, soy milk or almond milk
1 tsp. cinnamon Sliced almonds & nutmeg for garnish
1/2 tsp. ginger

Steam sweet potato or yam and butternut squash together until soft. Blend in a food processor (a blender will not do the job) with spices. While processing, slowly add enough milk to make the consistency slightly looser than mashed potatoes. Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish, about 1 1/2 Qt. (You can make ahead up to this point and store in refrigerator until ready to bake and eat.) Sprinkle nutmeg and sliced almonds on top as a garnish and bake at 350o for about 15 minutes.

Frittata Serves 6
1 medium onion, diced Several fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. olive oil 3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, diced 1 avocado, sliced in wedges
1 cup mushrooms, diced Cherry tomatoes, halved
8 eggs

Preheat broiler. Sauté onion in olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add red bell pepper and mushrooms and continue to sauté. In a medium bowl, mix eggs with basil. When vegetables are nicely acquainted, pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over top. Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Garnish with wedges of avocado and cherry tomatoes cut in half. Cut into wedges.

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