How To Make Oven Fries

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Next, you will scrub the potatoes and peel them. Using a sharp kitchen knife, slice the potatoes crosswise into about 1/2-inch stips. You can make the oven fries whatever size you wish, but beware if the fries are too thick, they will likely be a bit more soggy, even after baking.


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Happy Artichoke Day

Saturday, March 31, 2012
artichokeAt this time of year I feel very fortunate to live near the Artichoke Capitol of the World, as the markets here fill up with artichokes of all sizes. Did you know that a medium artichoke has 4 grams of effective carbohydrate and 10 grams of fiber? Please don't be intimidated by them -- they are delicious, healthy, and fun to eat! Check out this carb profile, and lots of other information about artichokes.

Photo c Laura Dolson

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Healthy Enchiladas

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Healthy Enchiladas

I like to make my own version of enchilada sauce to pour over these tasty healthy enchiladas.? A nice winter squash would work in place of the summer squash at this time of year.

Photo@ Kimberley K. Eggleston, licensed to About.com, Inc


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Zucchini Sticks

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Serve these crispy zucchini sticks with either a low fat ranch dressing or marinara sauce for a low calorie dipping solution. Depending on how much of a "kick" you like, add a little more or a little less ground red pepper to the bread crumb mixture.

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 10?minutes

Total Time: 15?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchini, washed and sliced into 3-inch by 1-inch pieces (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 oz.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of ground red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 475o F.

2. Place the egg whites in a shallow dish. Dredge the zucchini sticks in the egg white mixture.

3. In a large ziplock bag, combine the breadcrumbs, mozzarella cheese, salt, and ground red pepper. Place the zucchinni sticks, 3 at a time, in the bag, and shake until they are well-coated with the breadcrumb mixture.

4. Place the zucchini sticks in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the zucchini sticks.

5. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn over, and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until zucchini is tender, and outside coating is crispy.

Serves 6

Per Serving Calories 57


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Green Day

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Unleash your inner Irish with some low-fat St. Patrick's Day recipes, including this vibrant green, super-healthy spinach soup. Slainte Mhath!

More Low Fat St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Spinach Soup Photo c Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chocolate Oat Cookies

Who doesn't love a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie? These low calorie chocolate oat cookies literally take 15 minutes to mix up. Put them in the oven, and ten minutes after that you can enjoy one perfectly warm with a glass of milk!

Photo@ Kimberley K. Eggleston, licensed to About.com, Inc


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Chicken Paprikash

Friday, March 30, 2012

This Hungarian-style chicken paprikash dish uses reduced fat sour cream instead of the full fat version. You can use fat-free sour cream too. Choose Hungarian paprika over the bland American kind if you can. It gives the dish a much better flavor. If you want to make your paprikash even spicier, add some cayenne pepper, but just a little!

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 40?minutes

Total Time: 45?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika (Hungarian if you can get it)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 8-ounce can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream

Preparation:

In a large skillet over a medium high heat, saute onion until softened. Sprinkle paprika and cayenne (if using) over onion and stir. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes each side, until no longer pink. Add chicken broth and tomato sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sour cream and cook for two minutes more. Serve over noodles or rice.

Serves 4

Per Serving: Calories 227, Calories from Fat 61, Total Fat 6.8g (sat 2.2g), Cholesterol 90mg, Sodium 113mg, Carbohydrate 7.1g, Fiber 1.6g, Protein 3.4g


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Spring Greens

Friday, March 30, 2012
bagHave you heard of a CSA? That stands for "Community-Supported Agriculture" and it's basically a subscription to a local farm. Every week I get a box of whatever produce is ready for harvest at that time. It's a good time of year to check out what CSA's might be in your area, and one place to do that is LocalHarvest.org.

At this time of year, it's greens galore (and asparagus - yum)! This is great, because not only are greens superior sources of a vast array of nutrients (check out the nutrients in, for example, chard), but I find that eating a lot of greens helps to keep my fasting blood glucose lower (I'm pre-diabetic).

Photo c Ina Peters

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Sugar Busters Food Lists

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
These are lists of foods that are forbidden, recommended, or “to be eaten in moderation”.

Foods Forbidden on the Sugar Busters Diet

  • White bread (includes any bread with white flour in it)
  • Pasta, unless whole grain
  • White rice
  • White flour, and products made with it such as cake, cookies, crackers, pretzels, doughnuts, bagels, and muffins
  • Potatoes and potato chips
  • Corn and corn chips
  • Sugar and products with added sugar, e.g. canned fruits in syrup
  • Jams and jellies containing added sugars
  • Ripe bananas (green OK)
  • Raisins
  • Pineapple
  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Honey
  • Syrups
  • Salad dressings and sauces with added sugar, such as Teriyaki sauce
  • Fruit drinks containing added sugar
  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks
  • Sugar-cured meats (e.g. ham is often cured with salt and sugar)
  • Beer

Recommended Carbohydrate Foods on Sugar Busters

  • All other vegetables and fruits (see low carb fruit and vegetable lists.)
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal
  • Whole grain flour
  • Products made with 100% whole grain flour (note that “wheat flour” is NOT whole grain – it has to say WHOLE wheat), as long as they have no added sugars
  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes

Other Recommended Foods

  • Lean meats (remove skin from poultry, trim lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb) Nothing sugar-cured. (Low saturated fat meat list)
  • Fish and seafood (not breaded)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Flax Seeds
  • Olive and canola oils
  • Low fat milk and other dairy products (low fat sour cream, yogurt, etc, with no added sugar)
  • Mayonnaise and other sauces and dressings with no added sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners OK

Foods to Eat in Moderation

  • Fruit juices with no added sugar
  • Artificially sweetened colas (clear sodas are better)
  • Chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
  • Pure fruit jams and jellies without added sugar
  • Carrots
  • Butter, cream and regular cheese
  • Beverages with caffeine
  • Small portions of sugar-free ice cream, “if you have eaten a low glycemic meal that does not contain red meat”

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Irish Soda Bread

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irish Soda Bread requires only a few simple ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Throw in a cup of raisins if you like, and some orange zest, too. Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made without these, however, as it was made as a daily bread to accompany meals. Enjoy the original version warm with a little low fat spread with some tea, or as an accompaniment to a lean beef stew.

Prep Time: 15?minutes

Cook Time: 45?minutes

Total Time: 1?hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients together with a whisk. Make a well in the center and add 1 cup of the buttermilk, reserving 1/2 cup. Combine dry ingredients and buttermilk with a fork, gradually adding more of the remaining liquid until a soft dough is formed.

Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface for 1 minute. Form into a slightly flattened circle. Place on a parchment lined (or silicone baking mat) cookie sheet. Mark a large 1/2-inch deep X with a sharp knife and bake soda bread for 40-45 minutes. The bread is ready when it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Yield 1 round loaf (8-10 wedges or slices).

Per Serving: Calories 148, Calories from Fat 6, Total Fat 0.7g (sat 0.4g), Cholesterol 1 mg, Sodium 582mg, Carbohydrate 30.5g, Fiber 1g, Protein 5g


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How To Do Sugar Busters

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

General Recommendations:

The Sugar Busters authors recommend about 40% of calories in the diet be from high fiber, low glycemic carbohydrate, 30% from protein and about 30% (but as much as 40%) from fat, primarily unsaturated fat. On the other hand, they state in one place in the book that people may eat as much as 50-55% carbohydrate and still stay within the bounds of the diet - I don’t know where the extra 10-15% of carbs is supposed to come from, given the protein and fat recommendations.

Forbidden Carbohydrates:

White bread (includes any bread with white flour in it), white rice, white flour, sugar and products with added sugar, most jams and jellies, some high glycemic fruit (bananas, raisins, pineapple), most root vegetables (potatoes, beets, parsnips), corn. complete food list

Acceptable Carbohydrate Foods:

Most fruits and vegetables not mentioned above, including legumes, whole grain products, and low fat dairy products, as long as no sugar is added to any of them.

Meats, Fish, Eggs:

Eat lean meats - remove skin from poultry, trim fat from lean beef, lamb and pork. All fish and seafood allowed. Whole eggs allowed. Nothing breaded. Lean cuts of beef and pork are listed on the South Beach Meat List

Fats:

Unsaturated fat is emphasized, but saturated fat is not as forbidden as it is on, for example, the Zone and South Beach diets. Butter is OK in moderation, for example. The pantry list has cheese on it. Nonetheless, saturated fat should not be more than 10% of the diet (but no real guidelines on how to achieve this).

Alcohol and Caffeine:

A glass of an alcoholic beverage with a meal is OK – dry red wine is preferred. Beer is off-limits. Limit caffeine to 2-3 cups of caffeine-contained beverages per day, and less is better.

Timing of Meals:

People can divide their eating between anywhere from 3-6 meals per day, depending upon schedule and what works best for each person. No eating after 8 PM. Fruits and juices should ideally be eaten separately from other foods, but they are not rigid on this.

Portion Sizes:

The books don't give specific measurements for portions, but simply recommend one plate of food, but not overfull. Put reasonable portions on the plate and don’t go back for seconds.

Book List:


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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
What makes this slow cooker beef stew a good choice for St. Patrick's Day is that it's lower in fat than a corned beef dinner. Since it already contains potatoes, all this beef stew needs is a green vegetable of your choice and perhaps a slice of Irish soda bread to mop up the juices.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Ready to Cook c Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com


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Low-Carb Passover

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
You’d think low-carbers would have an edge at Passover. After all, we don’t really go in for bread (leavened or not) at any time of the year, and we tend to make most of our dishes without flour. To a large extent, it's true that there are advantages to low-carb eating at Passover. There are only two real problem areas. One is traditional starchy foods such as potato kugel. And the other is, of course, matzo, which is required, at least at Seders: matzo, with 22 grams of effective carb each.

When it comes to traditional holiday foods of any type, my guideline is “substitute where you can, otherwise, have a little.” After all, holidays are special, and it feeds our souls to enjoy them in traditional ways with family and friends. While I wouldn’t advise starting an ultra-low-carb phase of a diet right before Passover, a little deviation now and then is really OK -– if we won’t allow some flexibility in our eating, we probably won’t be on any eating plan for long. And there truly are many lower-carb possibilities for Passover.

Here are some tips for reducing carbohydrate at a typical Passover meal.

Traditional Seder Foods

Matzo - Try to get whole grain matzos, which have slightly less carbohydrate (19 grams instead of 22), and at least a little fiber. Also, there's no obligation to chow down on them. Have some raw vegetables on hand for munching if you're hungry before the main meal.

Charoset - Charoset is mostly really healthy, but don't load it down with sugar or honey. If you want it sweeter, you can add a little sugar substitute.

Gefilte fish - Gefilte fish does not have to be hard to make, and that way you can control the extra ingredients. Homemade is so much better than the stuff in jars! If you shop at a store with a fish counter, they will even grind the fish up for you, which speeds up the process. Jewish food writer Joan Nathan says to think of them as dumplings and they won't seem as big a deal. Here's a recipe for Classic Gefilte Fish from Giora Shimoni, About.com's Guide to Kosher Food.

Main Dishes

Most main dishes are fine. Giora has some great Tips for Making Brisket, with links to lots of recipes. For an easy version, try my Crockpot Brisket recipe.

Perhaps because I live near the Pacific Coast, and since Passover usually coincides with the beginning of the salmon season, I've noticed that grilled salmon or baked salmon are also popular main dishes here.

Of course, traditions differ in different areas and in different families -- and sometimes it's fun to bend tradition and try something new (see links below).

Side Dishes

Spring vegetables are common side dishes, especially asparagus. Passover can be a nice time to transition from the often-starchier winter vegetables to the lighter spring ones, which are usually low in carbohydrate. Spring vegetables can include greens, oven-roasted or grilled asparagus, or even artichokes.

Kugels made with potato are high in starch, of course. Either have just a few bites, or try a vegetable kugel with less or no potato. Giora has a great-looking recipe for Vegetable Kugel. It has potatoes, but you could probably cut them down or out. It is also similar to a frittata, which could be used to substitute, and is easy to make. Another idea is to make a grated squash casserole such as my Italian Zuchinni Casserole or Southwest Squash Casserole, which are also similar to kugels.

Desserts

Believe it or not, there are a lot of options for low-carb Passover desserts! I have been charged with bringing dessert to Seder for the last 10 years -- usually no one guesses they are low-carb. Here are some favorites:

Chocolate Pecan Torte - This is almost a "Cheater Dessert" because you can mix it up so fast, and still get lots of credit for it.

Torte del Re - This is my low-carb version of an Italian almond cake which is a popular Passover dessert in Italy.

Sugar-free Coconut Macaroons - These are SO easy! Four ingredients!

Snow Pudding - Light, delicious, and very low in carbs, fat, and calories. Just the thing after a long heavy meal.

More Low-Carb Passover Resources

Low-Carb Passover Tips from Dana Carpender’s Low Carb Ezine – includes a recipe for Spinach Mushroom Kugel

Low-Carb Passover Recipes from Gourmania

More Passover Recipes from Giora Shimoni, About.com's Guide to Kosher Food

Ten Tips for Passover Cooking from Giora

Passover Recipes from Lisa Katz, About's Guide to Judaism

Passover Recipes from Peggy Trowbridge Filppone, About's Guide to Home Cooking

Italian Passover Recipes from Kyle Phillips, About's Guide to Italian Cuisine


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Low-Carb Stuffing

Monday, March 12, 2012

One of the tricks to making low-carb turkey stuffing is to use a lot of vegetables. Another is to use a bread made without a lot of starch. This stuffing can be cooked inside a turkey or chicken, cooked on the stovetop, or baked in the oven in a casserole dish. You may think it sounds like there is an overwhelming amount of celery in this dish, but it actually cooks down so much that it is fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf low carb stuffing bread (see below) or low carb bread, crumbled or cut into cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6-7 cups chopped celery - about 2 small bunches
  • 1 green Bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons poultry seasoning, such as Bells
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt - start with 1/2 teaspoon, or 1 T chicken or turkey soup base (see below)
  • 1 cup water or broth, plus more according to moisture needed
  • 1 - 3 eggs if baking stuffing, and if desired (nutritional info includes 1 egg)
  • 1 T cooking oil

Preparation:

1) Make low-carb stuffing bread, or use about 1 - 1? lb loaf of low-carb bread if you have access to it. Different types of bread will bring different results, so you may have to adjust the amount of liquid, seasonings, etc. I based the nutritional information below on using my homemade stuffing bread. In any case, allow the bread to dry out for awhile, either on the counter on in a low oven. It doesn't have to be totally dry, just kind of stale-level dry.

2) Saute onion, celery, and pepper until soft. Add parsley and cook for a minute or so, until wilted. Add seasonings. I include about a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Soup Base at this point.

3) Mix together the vegetables and the bread. Add a cup of broth or water, stir, and taste. Adjust seasoning and moisture. If you're going to stuff poultry with it, leave it on the dry side because it will absorb a lot of juices during cooking. You can eat it just as it is, but if you bake it, the flavors will come together better. Adding egg will make it come together in more of a melded-together form. I usually add one egg, but don't like it too melded. You can add 2, or even three eggs. Mix well and bake at 350 F. for about half an hour, or until browned on top.

Nutritional Information: This makes quite a lot of stuffing. Divided into 12 generous servings, each has 5 grams effective carbohydrate plus 4 grams fiber, 9 grams protein, and 244 calories.

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Tomatoes 101

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Use Your Tomatoes

Aside from making tomato sauce, what else can you do with your tomatoes? Here are a few ideas:
  • Try broiling halved tomatoes for 5 minutes with a little parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.
  • Roast them. Halve some tomatoes crosswise, brush them with a small amount of olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Set the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Or try slow-roasting them at a lower temperature for longer--300 degrees for two hours. Roasting tomatoes concentrates their flavor. Enjoy your roasted tomatoes as a side dish or puree them for soups and sauces.
  • Saute them. Cherry tomatoes are great for this. Mix the sauteed tomatoes with your favorite pasta; or spoon them on top of chicken or fish.
  • Stuffed tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes crosswise, scoop out the pulp and fill them with your choice of rice, couscous, chopped vegetables, polenta, mushrooms—whatever takes your fancy. Bake the tomatoes at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Place sliced tomatoes on top of a pizza or make a tomato tart with them.
  • Make a tomato salad by slicing, chopping or cutting your tomatoes into wedges, and drizzling them with a little oil and balsamic vinegar. Mozzarella cheese is a great partner for sliced tomatoes. Add torn basil leaves and a light vinaigrette dressing to complete this classic salad.
  • Make fresh salsa.
  • Seed and chop tomatoes, combine with oil and garlic, and spoon on to a toasted baguette for bruschetta.
  • Make tomato soup: Gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based soup, for summer, and a hot soup for fall and winter.
  • Don’t forget to add fresh herbs to your tomato recipes: basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, oregano and thyme all complement the flavor of tomatoes well. Some people like to add a little sugar before cooking tomatoes; others prefer a smidgen of salt.

Tomato Recipes>>>


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Soup's On!

Monday, March 12, 2012
cauliflowerWhat's more comforting than a nice bowl of soup? They can warm us up on a cold day, cheer us when we're a bit down, and bolster us when we need a little more strength to get through the day. All this, and they are also a great way to use up leftover meats and vegetables. My latest recipe is for this Cauliflower Cheese Soup. I just put some spinach and bacon in a bowl of it for lunch -- yum.

Photo c Laura Dolson

Low-Carb Soup Recipes:

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Snack and Dessert Videos

Monday, March 12, 2012
Snacks are important to have access to, especially when we first change our way of eating. Treats also have their place in our lives. These videos can give you ideas of snacks that are mostly portable to have with you so you don't have to hang around the vending machine or convenience store. For more ideas, check out this Low-Carb Snack List and these Low-Carb Dessert Recipes.

1. Three Quick Low-Carb Snacks

About.com

J.J. Virgin shares three of her favorite quick and easy low-carb snacks in this video she made for About.com. One of her goals is to take away people's excuses for not eating well!

2. How to Make Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Peanut Butter Protein BallsAbout.com
These peanut butter protein balls are a great between-meal snack. They can be made with almond butter or other nut butters if you prefer. They are easy to make, with just four ingredients. If you'd like a printable form of the recipe, check it out here, and hit the little printer icon in the upper right-hand corner.

3. How to Make Low-Carb Trail Mix

Low-Carb Trail MixAbout.com
Trail mix can be a great snack -- after all the reason it's called trail mix is that you can take it anywhere. The only problem is that trail mixes you can buy in the store are loaded with sugar for "quick energy" which is not generally needed for those following a low-carb way of eating. For more information about putting together low-carb trail mixes, check out this article: How to Make Low-Carb Trail Mix.

4. Almond Spice Cookies

About.com
These cookies are easy to make, and taste similar to "hermit cookies", with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. They are gluten-free, sugar-free, and have less than a gram of carbohydrate per cookie. If you want to have a printable form of the recipe, go to this recipe for Sugar-Free Almond Spice Cookies and click on the little printer icon in the upper right-hand corner.

5. Flax Seed Crackers

About.com
These high-fiber crackers are great when you want something crunchy to eat. They are flavored with garlic and Parmesan cheese, but you can put any spices in them that takes your fancy. Flax is one of the low-carb super foods with lots of omega-3 fatty acids. There is a printable recipe here for Garlic Parmesan Flax Crackers.

6. Tips for Making Low-Carb Snacks

About.com

One of the great things about a low-carb diet is that you never have to go hungry. Here are some ideas for healthy low-carb snacks to take with you when traveling, or when you're just going to be out of the house for the day.

7. How to Make Low-Carb Cheesecake

Low Carb Cheesecake with StrawberriesPhoto c Laura Dolson
Cheesecake is one of the easiest desserts to convert to a low-carb version, since there's no flour in most recipes for the regular version. Some people avoid making cheesecakes because they think they are too complicated, but this video will help you to feel more confident. Also, check out my recipes for:

8. How to Make Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cups

About.com
I will admit that these yummy sugar-free and low-carb peanut butter cups sound complicated to make, but Stephanie brings you through all the steps so you can see it isn't very difficult at all. If you'd like to have this recipe in printable form, go to Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cups and click on the print icon in the upper right-hand corner.

9. How to Make a Pie Crust with Almond Meal

almond pie crustAbout.com
This pie crust has just three ingredients, and no rolling pin is necessary! It's sort of like a crumb crust. If you want a printable copy of the recipe, it is here. This crust is great with my Fresh Berry Pie or my No-Bake Cheesecake.

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Low Fat Tartar Sauce

Monday, March 12, 2012

Serve a dollop of this zesty low calorie and low fat tartar sauce atop grilled fish, or use as a kid-friendly dip for fish sticks. With only four ingredients, it can literally be put together five minutes before dinner is served!

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Total Time: 5?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation:

1. Combine all four ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together well, and serve with the fish of your choice.

Makes 3/4 cups

Per Serving (1 Tablespoon) Calories 48


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Honey Roasted Asparagus

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This asparagus dish makes a perfect accompaniment to your meal, and has a lovely balance of both sweet and savory flavors.

Prep Time: 5?minutes

Cook Time: 12?minutes

Total Time: 17?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp apple juice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk together the canola oil, honey, apple juice, garlic powder and salt in a dish. Add the asparagus, and toss together until the asparagus is coated. Lay the asparagus in a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the asparagus is fork-tender.

Serves 4

Per Serving Calories 66


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St Patrick's Day Cookies

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prepare a lower fat sweet treat this St. Patrick's Day by making a batch of shamrock-shaped sugar cookies. If you don't have a shamrock cookie cutter, make rounds but be sure to use green sprinkles or gel for decorating.

Cook Time: 10?minutes

Total Time: 10?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter and sugar until dough forms.

Don't worry if the dough seems a little crumbly at first; it will come together. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for two hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch thickness. Use holiday cookie cutters dipped in flour to make cutouts. Gather scraps and re-roll until all the dough is used. Place cookies 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

If you're using sugar sprinkles, decorate the cookies before baking.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack after 1 minute to cool.

Makes 30 cookies, depending on size of cookie cutters used. Per serving: Calories 65, Calories from Fat 20, Total Fat 2.2g (sat 1.3g), Cholesterol 12mg, Sodium 38mg, Carbohydrate 10.3g, Fiber 0.2g, Protein 1g


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Skinny Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Question: What are Skinny Mashed Potatoes?

Sometimes a recipe will suggest serving skinny mashed potatoes alongside an entree. A few people have asked what we mean by skinny mashed potatoes.

Answer: Regular mashed potatoes usually call for cream and butter to be added. Simply put, skinny mashed potatoes are made by substituting nonfat or low-fat milk or buttermilk—or fat-free broth—in place of cream, whole milk and butter. I also like to use fat-free sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt as cream and whole milk substitutes, too. Fat-free half and half and fat-free evaporated milk are also great alternatives.

You can add flavor to skinny mashed potatoes by adding some crushed roasted garlic, a little chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, or a simple blend of fresh or dried herbs to give them added interest.

If you want that buttery flavor without the butter, use butter-flavored sprinkles (such as Butter Buds), or go ahead and add just one tablespoon of butter as a special treat.

As always, go easy on portion sizes. A serving size of mashed potatoes should really be no more than a half cup.

Try this almost fat-free recipe for garlic mashed potatoes.


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Phyllo Topped Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Chicken pot pie likely features in most people's lists of top 10 comfort foods. It also ranks in many top 10 lists of worst foods in terms of fat and calories. Some storebought 10-ounce frozen chicken pot pies contain around 650 calories per serving, close to 40 grams of fat, and anywhere between 14-18 grams of saturated fat. They're often high in sodium, too. So why not make a healthier, lighter yet still creamy chicken pot pie that's topped with a flaky crust and is perfectly portion controlled?

Chicken Pot Pie Photo c 2012 Fiona Haynes, licnesed to About.com


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Crockpot Chicken Curry

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An easy-to-prepare low-fat crockpot chicken curry that will fill your kitchen with a wondeful aroma.

Prep Time: 15?minutes

Cook Time: 6?hours

Total Time: 6?hours, 15?minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1tbsp cornstarch

Preparation:

Coat a 3-4 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Place onions, carrots, potatoes, apple, and raisins on the bottom. Sprinkle curry powder over the vegetables and fruit. Add chicken breasts, then pour chicken broth over them. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. About half an hour before the curry is done, combine sour cream and cornstarch, and stir into curry.

Serve over whole grain rice.

Serves 4-6

Per Serving: Calories 334, Calories from Fat 37., Total Fat 4.1g (sat 1.6g), Cholesterol 87mg, Sodium 129mg, Carbohydrate 37.9g, Fiber 5.8g, Protein 36.3g


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Is Gluten a Problem for You?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
bread In 2012, there is a growing awareness that some people have problems when they eat gluten-containing foods. By now, you have probably seen lots of foods labeled "gluten-free", and may wonder about it. While there's no direct relationship between low-carb eating and gluten-free eating, I believe that it's a good idea to educate people who are sensitive to carbs about gluten, and possibly vice versa. This is because when people cut carbs they are almost always cutting way down on gluten and when people first go gluten-free, they usually cut back on carbs. Because of this, it's relatively easy to confuse the results of your dietary change, attributing to one what is caused by the other.

What is gluten? Gluten refers to the proteins in wheat which cause the dough to become elastic when kneaded. These proteins are also present in rye and barley, and in forms of wheat such as spelt, kamut, and bulgar. Since wheat is in many processed foods (think of ingredients such as starch and vegetable protein, as well as surprising foods such as soy sauce) a person on a gluten-free diet generally eats few processed foods (although food companies are rapidly rushing in to fill that gap).

When I went on my first reduced-carb diet 16 years ago, I was truly amazed by how much better I felt. It turned out that part of that dramatic change was because I am gluten intolerant. Unfortunately, when I found this out, I assumed that gluten was my only problem, so what did I do? Learned to bake with rice flour and other gluten-free grains! My weight came right back, and so did some of my symptoms. It took me awhile to figure out that I am glucose intolerant as well as gluten intolerant.

There is also a phenomenon where people who are overweight and go on a gluten-free diet often lose weight. My About.com buddy Jane Anderson, the Guide to Celiac Disease, has written a great article, Gluten-Free Diets and Weight Loss, about this topic. One of the people she cites is Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly. Dr. Davis writes about the detrimental effects of wheat, including its role in weight gain, but emphasizes that the weight loss won't be as likely to occur if people substitute other starches and sugars for the wheat. So is it the gluten, or the carbs? Perhaps both. (BTW, Dr. Davis is going to be on this year's Low-Carb Cruise. Also, in the gluten and weight loss article, Jane quotes Denise Minger, who is ALSO going to be on the cruise! See? It really is all connected!)

Another thing Jane has been writing a lot about lately is gluten sensitivity. Finally, there is evidence for something that many of us have known for a long time: that you don't have to have celiac disease to have problems with gluten. Estimates vary as to how many people are affected, but it seems as though it's at least 6-7% of the population. If you are interested in the topic, I highly recommend Jane's whole Celiac Disease site, as well as the following articles:


Also, did you know that all of my low-carb recipes are also gluten-free? Check out:
Photo c Elke Rohn

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Belgian Waffles

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Ever snce I was given a Belgian waffle maker a couple of years ago, light, fluffy waffles have been on the breakfast menu most weekends. Now waffles may not be the most healthful of breakfast foods, but it is certainly possible to enjoy a healthier version without compromising on taste. Plus, much of what's wrong with a breakfast featuring waffles (or pancakes) is what's served alongside them or on top of them. So if you can manage without butter or cream, drizzle rather than drown them in maple syrup, and enjoy some fresh fruit on top, then waffles can easily fit in to a low fat diet.

Waffles Photo c Fiona Haynes, licensed to About.com


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Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I like to prepare this before I go to bed so that breakfast is ready when I wake up in the morning. Just be careful not to sleep in or the oats to get overdone!

Ingredients:

  • Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. In a 4-qt crockpot, combine all ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, until oats are tender.

Serves 4

Per Serving Calories 283


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Oven Baked Fries

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The trick to these oven baked fries is a hot, hot oven! Serve alongside a healthy, hot sandwich for a meal that feels indulgent, but is easy on the waistline!

Prep Time: 15?minutes

Cook Time: 35?minutes

Total Time: 50?minutes

Ingredients:

  • Ingredients

  • 1 lb russet potatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Peel the potatoes, and slice into 1/2-inch stips.

3. In a large bowl, combine the water with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the sugar. Drop the potato slices into the water solution, and soak for 5 minutes. Drain, and pat the potatoes dry with a towel.

3. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes together with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the olive oil. Spread the potato slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.

4. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes. Turn the fries over with a spatula, and raise the oven temperature to 500°F. Bake an additional 10 minutes, until the fries are crisp and golden.

Serves 6

Per Serving Calories 110


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Is Added Fiber Actually Helpful?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
high-fiberFood manufacturers are putting fiber into everything they can, but is it doing anyone any good? NPR recently aired an interesting story about this, which points out that just because high-fiber foods (vegetables, nuts, etc.) are associated with positive health outcomes, this doesn't mean it's the fiber that does it. There are whole constellations of nutrients in whole foods that we don't know much (or in some cases, anything) about, and there's very little evidence that fiber in and of itself is a magic bullet, at least in well-controlled studies. Furthermore, even if fiber *in foods* is a good thing, that doesn't mean that adding fiber to other foods will improve them. As the scientist in the NPR piece said, "I don't want people to think that by adding things to unhealthy foods, it somehow makes them healthy." Amen.

For low-carbers, there is another issue, which is that a lot of low-carb products have substituted various types of fiber for starches or even sugars. This may be OK in some cases, but there are products which strip fibers out of one plant (such as inulin or oligofructose from chicory root) and put them into a food such as a low-carb snack bar. Although this seems fine for a lot of people, others report that this "fiber" actually raises their blood sugar. So the inulin, in this case, may not be acting like fiber for everyone.

The one area where I've seen more evidence for a positive effect of fiber alone is fermentable fiber's contribution to the "flora" in our colon. This, in turn, can have many other beneficial effects. I've written about this here and here. And certainly it helps in avoiding constipation!

Photo: Oppenheim Bernhard/Getty Images

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More Low-Carb Videos

Monday, March 5, 2012
cocktailI've taken another stab at organizing more of the many videos that About.com has added to my site in the last few months. If you like to have things explained and demonstrated to you, instead of just reading about it, check these out:Photo c About.com

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