By: Leanne Ely
I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!
Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!
Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:
Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen list and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.
Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables would include: asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.
Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also help keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.
Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup, or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst! Especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.
Indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.
Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.
Use packets. Some veggies don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. Peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes, or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.
There you have it.
Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add?
Tricks, Tips and a Recipe
Just Beet It!
By: Leanne Ely C.N.C.
Today’s focus is on BEETS.
Now now! Don’t turn your nose up! There’s way more to beets that the purple gushy sliced things you see decorating salad bars all of over America. We’re talking fresh beets, the kind that are in season RIGHT now!
Beets are amazingly healthy; they tell you that all by themselves by their gorgeous color. Rich in folate, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and a whole host of other vital nutrients, beets need to considered in your diet. Seriously!
Here’s today’s TRICK:
Raw beets are easy to disguise in a beef and black bean burrito. Ask me how I know. 🙂 My children (now 21 & 19) still don’t know to this day they have consumed many a beet this way!
Here’s a TIP:
Store unwashed beets in your fridge’s crisper. They’ll stay good for 2 or more weeks! If the beets “bleed” on you, use lemon juice to help remove the purple.
And your RECIPE:
4 to 6 beets, scrubbed, peeled and quartered (they’ll bleed)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place your cut up beets evenly on a baking pan; drizzle with olive oil, top with salt and pepper to taste. Roast till fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size.
Just Beet It!
Leave the Jelly Belly to Santa
by: Leanne Ely, CNC
“He had a broad face and round little belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly!”
Now I don’t know about you, but I know that’s Santa when I read those familiar lines of verse from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Now Santa may have had a belly, it’s just plain unhealthy-even if your last name is Claus!
Belly fat is just the worst-and not just because of the cosmetic reasons why, either. It’s the health risk that’s most concerning.
People who are more apple-shaped than pear-shaped (in other words, carry more weight around their middles than on their posteriors), have more fat around their organs (that’s very hard on your body), are more at risk to develop cancer, diabetes and heart disease. That’s not fun, is it?
Here’s how to find out if you’re at risk. Measure your waist, measure your hips. The bigger your waist compared to your hips, the higher your risk. Your heart risk goes up as your inches go up. If your waist is bigger than your hips and you need to take this message seriously, especially if you’re a woman.
Just remember, there is no magic potion or spot reduction exercise you can do to get rid of the belly fat. It takes work. I’m not going to lie to you, it takes HARD work. That’s hardly earth shattering, is it? You have to eat less (PORTION CONTROL!!), move more (EXERCISE!) and eat healthier stuff (EAT YOUR VEGGIES!). Like I said, it’s no shocker.
I felt this is an important reminder as we are well into the holidays and the greasy appetizers are calling out, the candy comes pouring in from everywhere and the party invitations just seem to multiply. Now isn’t the time to lose body clutter necessarily. This is more a time to think sensibly about maintaining your current weight and not gaining!
Be a mindful eater, regardless of the time of year and let’s stay healthy into 2012. Here is a heart healthy recipe to help you and it’s a snap to make, too! Enjoy!
Blackened Salmon Poor Boy Sandwiches
6 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup Cajun spice mix (more or less to taste), divided*
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 (4- to 6-oz.) boneless skinless salmon fillets or steaks
6 French rolls, lightly toasted with some of the inside breading removed
12 slices tomato
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Mix mayonnaise with 1 to 2 teaspoons of Cajun spice. Taste, add salt, pepper or more Cajun spice as necessary; put aside till later.
Lightly oil both sides of the salmon and sprinkle with the remaining Cajun spice (the more you add, the hotter it becomes, so heads up).
Place salmon in the hot skillet to blacken; cook 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, turn and finish cooking. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of fish and the heat of pan. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture onto each French roll. Top each with a
blackened salmon steak/fillet, 2 slices of tomato and 1/4 cup of the shredded cabbage and serve.
Per Serving: 393 Calories; 14g Fat; 39g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 93mg Cholesterol; 882mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain (Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates. Points: 10
SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve with a tossed green salad.
*If you can’t buy Cajun spice mix or would prefer to make it yourself, here is a simple recipe:
Cajun Spice Mix
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
This makes about 2/3 of a cup. Keep it in a sealed zipper-topped bag to use again.
Get a jump on shedding those holiday pounds with our Break Free Club!
Leave the Jelly Belly to Santa
Tips, Tricks, & a Recipe
by Leanne Ely
So you know you should be eating fish often. It’s good for you. Yet many people are a bit hesitant to cook fish. It’s tricky (or so they think). Well let me ease your mind. Cooking fish is easier than baking a pie – and much better for you. Fish is the ultimate fast food. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook it to perfection. The moment it’s opaque (whitish and not shiny) and flaky it’s done! Fast, easy, and good for you. Who could ask for more?
Grilling: Pick sturdy fish for grilling like tuna and salmon. Preheat the grill then use a grilling basket or heavy duty foil. Place fish on the foil and grill. If you wrap the fish in the foil and seal it then you’re steaming and not grilling. Cook the fish for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.
Steaming: After you bring your liquid to a slow simmer, place your fish over the steaming water in a tray. Cover and steam for about 7 minutes. Continue to steam until opaque and flaky.
Baking: Simply follow your recipe and check to see if it’s done after about 8 minutes
Do not microwave fish. It’s easy to end up with a rubbery mess.
Here’s Today’s TRICK:
Thaw frozen fish in milk in a bowl in the fridge overnight for a fresh taste. Toss out the milk when you’re done.
Here’s a TIP:
Smell your fish before you buy it. If it smells fishy, don’t pick it. It should smell good, even sweet!
And your RECIPE:
Steamed Salmon & Cabbage
NOTE: Start cooking brown rice in rice cooker or on the stove top according to instructions so that when you are done with wraps you can place them in the steamer basket the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
12 large cabbage leaves, blanched, drained, set aside
2 pounds salmon fillets, skinned, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
In a small skillet sauté shallots and garlic in oil over medium heat stirring frequently for about five minutes. In a large bowl add the cubed fish, shallots and garlic, lemon juice, pepper, salt, thyme and basil. Stack two cabbage leaves, putting fish mixture inside. Wrap and tuck the sides into rolls. Secure with toothpicks.
Place in the top container of a rice cooker steamer basket or a bamboo steamer. Steam for 7 to 10 minutes.
In the meantime puree the following ingredients in food processor:
1/2 cup chicken or fish stock
2 red bell peppers, peeled & roasted
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 pinch white pepper
Heat in a small sauce pan, bringing to boil over medium heat, cooking until reduced by half stirring frequently.
To serve place some sauce on a plate then put the cabbage roll on top. Serve with rice. Asparagus makes a nice side with this dish.
Tips Tricks, & a Recipe
Anti Inflammatory Foods
by Leanne Ely CNC
Today’s focus is on: Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Yes, you read that right. Instead of one food today, the focus is on the many foods that you can eat to help reduce inflammation in your body. If you suffer from any illness, from premenstrual syndrome to arthritis; anything that requires you to use anti-inflammatory medications you should try to eat as many of these foods as possible.
Here is just a short list to get you started.
Herbs & Spices
Nuts & Seeds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Here’s Today’s TRICK:
Put some mint into your tea to increase the inflammation reduction properties.
Here’s a TIP:
In addition to the foods listed above you can drink green tea to reduce inflammation.
And your RECIPE:
8 large green onions, chopped fine, including stalk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green peppers, seeded, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves roasted garlic, smashed
4 carrots, cleaned, cut into bite sized pieces
10 ounces mushrooms, cut into thick pieces
1 bunch celery, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 head of cabbage, clean, and chop into bite sized pieces
2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
48 ounces chicken or veggie broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Curry, to taste (optional)
Parsley, sprig for each serving
In a large soup pot, put 2 tablespoons olive oil, add green onion and garlic, sauté about 4 to 6 minutes until onion is clear. Add in the rest of the ingredients to the pot all at once. Add water until everything is covered with liquid, if needed. Cover and cook on low heat for about two hours. Season to taste. Serve each bowl of soup with a sprig of parsley.
Variations: Mash an avocado or two and add to the garlic, onion mixture right before the rest of the ingredients.
TTR - Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Often thought of as a side dish, salads can make tasty, energizing meals. Added bonus: they’re quick and easy. We have all heard the horror stories of 1500 calorie salads—you need to be cautious about the toppings, but aside from that, you can let your imagination run wild.
Remember that there are many types of lettuce, not just boring non-nutrient-rich Iceberg. Try adding green leaf or red leaf lettuce, radicchio, spinach, Romaine, curly endive and more. Try various combinations. The more different varieties you use the more nutritious your salad becomes.
Throw in sprouts, unlimited veggies, a bit fruit too! Sprinkling on a topping of nuts (just a bit) will make your salad a truly divine meal. Try to buy only organic, locally grown produce. This will go far in helping your salad taste delicious and up your nutritional quotient.
Did you know that you can create dressings from veggies and fresh fruit? You can make a wonderful “French” dressing by mixing together little pureed avocado, balsamic vinegar, spicy hot chili sauce, and a little honey for sweetener. Experiment with different flavors. You might surprise yourself!
Flavored vinegars, extra virgin olive oils, spices and some imagination, and you can do away with store bought unhealthy processed dressings.
To add a little extra protein punch, add in some grilled marinated chicken breasts, fish or leftover steak. There you have it, a salad fit for a meal. It’s a perfectly acceptable plan to serve this kind of salad meal to company too. The best part, it’s easy and you can still enjoy your guests.
Toss the following ingredients:
• 6 cups mixed salad greens (make sure some of it is spinach)
• 1 cup carrots, chopped
• 2 tablespoon red onion, chopped
• 1 Gala apple, cored, and cut into 1/4- inch cubes
• 2 tomatoes, diced
• 1 tablespoon almond slivers
• 1 roasted or grilled chicken breast, cut in strips
• 1/2 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 squirt hot chili sauce (like Tabasco)
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Make as much of this dressing or as little as you want and store in the fridge to use anytime you need it.
Make My Salad A Meal