September 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Some home cooks cringe at the thought of hosting a crowd because they don’t know how to plan the menu.
Entertaining needn’t be stressful. Focus on filling guests’ bellies, and remember that you can’t please everyone all the time. An organic vegetarian entree solves multiple problems.
If you don’t have a go-to dish, I’d recommend a classic eggplant rollatini. It’s a perfect entree, especially if time is of the essence. Pre-sliced raw or roasted organic eggplant slices are available in bulk from a well-stocked supermarket or natural/organic food store.
Read More:Party Food: Organic Eggplant Rollatini
August 30th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
School is almost in session, so it’s time to “think outside the loaf,” according to registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer.
“Kids do get tired of the same old sandwiches,” says the visiting professor of exercise science at Willamette University in Salem, OR. She’s also the author of numerous books, including Age-Proof Your Body: Your Complete Guide to Looking and Feeling Younger.
A tortilla wrap is a great way to experiment with a variety of healthy ingredients, Somer says, and tortillas are a good choice for budget-conscious families.
Read More:PB&J Banana Burritos
August 26th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Triple-digit temperatures have hit Southern California later than expected. I suppose I should be grateful that the thermometer reads only 103° today, as opposed to the day’s record high of 116° that blistered us in 1985.
Staying hydrated is critical when the sun decides to show off. I make sure my ice cube trays are well stocked and drink more fluids to make up for water loss.
I also take a cue from Jenny Harper, senior culinary specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens. Jenny freshens up summer drinks with lemon-flavored ice cubes.
“Squeeze fresh lemons, and put the juice in ice cube trays,” she says. “You can also add some zest for an extra lemon boost.”
Freeze the cubes, and then transfer them to a freezer-ready storage container. You can add a burst of flavor to water, iced tea, fruit juice and other beverages.
I like the BPA-free, though pricey, Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray (right) from Onyx. And if I’m out of lemons, I’ll substitute other citrus fruit juices for flavorful ice cubes.
4 Special Recipes from Jenny Harper
- Early-Morning Pumpkin Maple Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Latte
- Creamy Margaritas (Tequila Optional)
- Frozen Hot Chocolate
Follow me on Twitter: @BarbGoesOrganic
Read More:Cool Off with Organic Lemon Ice Cubes
August 24th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Nothing beats sipping a tall, cold Blueberry Mojito while grilling outdoors.
The combination of fresh mint and blueberries is super-refreshing, and the drink can be prepared with or without alcohol. (For a virgin mojito, top off the glass with lemonade or club soda in lieu of rum.)
Here’s the best part: All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Makes 1 drink
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
1/2 to 3/4 cup lemonade
Splash of club soda
1 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
Mint sprig and lime slice, for garnish
- In a tall 16-oz. glass, add mint leaves, lime juice and sugar. Mash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or muddler until fragrant.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the blueberries, and mash until juicy.
- Fill the glass three-quarters full with ice. Add lemonade until the glass is two-thirds full.
- Add splash of soda, light rum and remaining blueberries; stir.
- Slowly pour dark rum into the drink so it floats on top.
- Garnish with a sprig of mint and slice of lime; serve immediately.
Recipe developed by Lewis & Neale for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Read More:Organic Blueberry Mojito
August 13th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Cucumbers on the grill?
Absolutely! They’re even better when freshly picked from your organic garden.
Today’s recipe pairs English cucumbers with juicy tomatoes, and prep time is minimal. Use a grill basket to prevent veggies from slipping through the grate.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
1 English cucumber
Olive-oil nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper, to taste
Your favorite Italian dressing
- Cut tomatoes into wedges.
- Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch slices.
- Spray veggies generously with olive-oil nonstick cooking spray for extra flavor and browning. Spray grill basket, as well.
- Place vegetables in basket. Grill until lightly browned, tossing occasionally, about 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss with salad greens and Italian dressing.
Recipe courtesy of PAM Organic Cooking Spray. Photo: La Grande Farmers’ Market.
Read More:Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
August 5th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Convincing children to eat their veggies can be challenging, so Chicago-based registered dietitian Jodie Shield encourages parents to get creative.
Tell your kids to play with their food, urges Shield, coauthor of The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids.
You can combine snack time with playtime by creating veggie critters as afterschool treats.
Here’s what you’ll need to make an organic Cauliflower Caterpillar:
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 tubs (8 oz. each) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 unpeeled cucumber, sliced thinly
1 carrot, shredded
Red bell pepper, cut into small, triangular pieces
- Add the dressing mix to the cream cheese. Stir until well combined to create “glue.”
- Create the caterpillar’s body by placing 3 cauliflower florets on a plate and gluing cucumber slices between them .
- Attach shredded carrots for legs and asparagus for antennae.
- Glue pepper triangles to caterpillar’s head to create eyes.
- Use remaining “glue” for dipping, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley
Read More:Kid Food: Make an Organic Cauliflower Caterpillar
August 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You have only about 3 more weeks to take advantage of Whole Foods Market’s sustainable swordfish catch.
To inspire you, here’s one of the natural and organic food chain’s deliciously simple recipes, featuring a zesty Italian sauce.
If sustainable swordfish is unavailable in your area, you can substitute a firm white fish like Pacific halibut.
Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes, with all juices
2½ tablespoons drained capers
1 pound swordfish, skin removed, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just golden around the edges, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in pepper flakes first, then tomatoes and capers. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add swordfish and stir into sauce. Cover skillet and simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until chunks of fish are almost opaque in the center, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
- Drain pasta, transfer to a platter or large bowl, ladle sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with basil.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market
Read More:Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
July 29th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Whether raw, grilled or roasted, red bell peppers are an incredible low-calorie source of vitamin C.
One medium bell pepper has only 25 calories, while providing:
- 190% of your daily vitamin C requirement
- 2 g fiber
- 4% of your daily vitamin A requirement
- 4% of your daily iron requirement
But does nutritional content change when peppers hit the grill or roasting pan?
Peppers shrink as they cook, and vitamin C is heat-sensitive. Grilled peppers will therefore contain less vitamin C, but you’ll make up for it by consuming a larger, more concentrated portion of the veggie, explains registered dietitian Karen Collins, nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research. Ultimately, regardless of preparation, a half-cup serving of red bell peppers provides a full day’s vitamin C requirement.
Conversely, vitamin A levels are higher when red peppers are roasted, Collins says. That’s because the cooking process leads to better absorption of beta-carotene.
But watch out for hidden calories and sodium in jarred roasted red peppers (or similar varieties found in supermarket or restaurant antipasto bars).
“When they are marinated in oil, of course, calorie content increases,” Collins says. “Sodium content also changes with preparation. Jarred roasted red peppers usually contain added salt, which increases sodium content markedly.
“However, you can broil or bake fresh red peppers in a hot oven (about 450°F) for 7 to 10 minutes; then put them in a bag to cool for about 15 minutes. You’ll have roasted red peppers with the near-zero sodium content of raw red peppers.”
How to Choose an Organic Bell Pepper
- Look for firm, brightly colored peppers with tight skins.
- Peppers should be heavy for their size.
- Avoid dull, shriveled or pitted peppers.
5 Roasted Red Pepper Recipes
- Tomato and Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup
- Grilled Fennel, Corn and Red Pepper Salad
- Skewered Grilled Organic Veggies
- Roasted Vegetable Medley
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Read More:Grill Organic Red Bell Peppers for a Vitamin Boost
July 23rd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
“Healthy” and “breakfast sandwich” tend to be an oxymoron, especially when you review popular fast-food menu items:
- Burger King Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit: 420 calories, 25 g fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 1,360 mg sodium
- Sonic Breakfast Toaster Sandwich with Bacon: 532 calories, 32.4 g fat, 323 mg cholesterol, 1,441 mg sodium
- McDonald’s Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12 g fat, 260 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium
By comparison, today’s recipe for a Spicy Egg, Turkey Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Muffin contains only 226 calories, 6 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol and 534 mg sodium. The lean protein (17 g), high-fiber carbohydrates and healthy fats—an ideal nutritional trifecta—will leave you feeling satisfied, with fewer cravings throughout the day.
Substitute turkey bacon for its high-fat pork cousin, says exercise physiologist Bob Greene, Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer and author of several books, including The Best Life Diet Cookbook. He also forsakes egg yolks and cooks with egg whites, which have no fat or cholesterol and half the calories.
The recipe’s prep time is 10 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Spicy Egg, Turkey Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Muffin
Makes 2 servings
1 cup (8 ounces) egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cayenne hot pepper sauce
1/8 cup (half an ounce) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 slices uncured turkey bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 whole-wheat English muffins, split
- Spray a 10-inch skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.
- Add egg whites, and stir in hot pepper sauce.
- As eggs start to set, use a spatula to lift edges, letting uncooked whites flow to the bottom of the skillet. Cook until whites are set, but still moist.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese atop the egg whites. Fold over the omelet so the cheese melts in the middle.
- Place turkey bacon on a microwave-safe plate, and cover it with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds, or until warmed.
- Toast each English muffin half. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture atop two toasted muffins.
- Top each with one piece of cooked turkey bacon and the remaining toasted muffin halves.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Better’n Eggs/ARA
Read More:Build a Healthy, Organic Breakfast Sandwich
July 21st, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Quick, imagine a vegan guy. Let me guess what pops into your head: a scrawny, pale artist with horn-rimmed glasses whose closest brush with fame was playing in a mopey indie rock band. Yeah, that’s what I thought of, too. How’s this for a new vegan poster man: a tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome NFL star who can melt hearts with his confident baritone. Yeah, that’s right: the Old Spice Guy.
Ecorazzi scooped some tweets from Isaiah Mustafa, the actor who plays the Old Spice Guy, that suggest he’s trying a vegan diet. If it’s true, Mr. Mustafa, we’ve got a couple recipes for you.
Our Easy Lentil Salad with Radicchio and Veggies is a high protein, low-fat power salad that will leave you feeling like a man, man.
If you want something warmer, try our Vegetarian Chili recipe. Nothing but beans, tomatoes, veggies, broth, and spices. Yum!
For breakfast, dessert, or anything in between, use our Raw Almond Butter recipe. It’s simple, vegan, raw, and super tasty.
Image Credit: Graeme Douglas
Read More:Is The Old Spice Guy Vegan?