If you follow a gluten-free diet, because of a gluten intolerance (wheat allergy) or Celiac Disease, Traders Joe’s is your place for one-stop shopping.
I’m currently visiting my cousin, who has Celiac Disease. We’ve just returned to the house after a visit to Trader Joe’s. Having “divided and conquered” in the store, I did not see the list of Trader Joe-branded products, in which No Gluten Ingredients are used, that she picked up while we were there.
It’s long and vast: Bakery, Breads, Cookies; Dairy; Dried Fruits, Nuts & Seeds; Deli/Meat; Spreads, Salsas & Dips; Dressings, Marinades & Sauces … to name a few of the categories on the seven-page list.
Also worth checking out on the Trader Joe website is the list of Nutrition Facts & Definitions. How do you read a food label? What does Low Fat or Low Sodium really mean? And did I mention their recipes? They’re worth a read too, especially armed with the list of No Gluten Ingredients Used products and your new food label savvy.
As always, eat well.
This is the launch of Food Seriously’s “Tip of the Week.”
Today, the tip comes courtesy of Bethenny Frankel - Real Housewife of New York, Celebrity Natural Food Chef – who appeared on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda to discuss the “Skinnygirl” way to get through Memorial Day. If you’re a guacamole lover, this is for you. She calls it Low Fat Mock-a-Mole.
Her suggestion: take your favorite guacamole recipe and substitute half of the suggested amount of avocado with frozen green peas. Thaw them, mash them up, and stir them in. You’ll reduce the fat and calorie count of the guacamole, and add nutritional value. Ms. Frankel claims, and Kathie Lee and Hoda concurred, that you can’t taste the difference. Serve with baked, multi-grain tortilla chips. Check out her recipe.
If you are in need of another guacamole recipe, try this one by Bob Cody on AllRecipes.com. It has all of the ingredients that make great guac – cilantro, lime, cayenne pepper – and now you can cut the fat with 1-1/2 avocados and a cup of defrosted, mashed frozen peas.
After seeing how easy it is to make and store your own salad dressing, you’ll never buy another bottle of the pre-made stuff again. Why would you? As Mark Bittman told Matt Lauer more than once this morning on the Today Show, “You don’t know what’s in it.”
Check out the four recipes. No doubt most of the ingredients are already in your cupboard, or should be. These salad dressings are incredibly easy to prepare. And you’ll know what you’re eating.
Makes about 3/4 to 1 cup of dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Combine all the ingredients except the shallot in a blender — or use an immersion blender — and turn the machine on; a creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste and add vinegar a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. Add the shallot and turn the machine on and off a few times until the shallot is minced within the dressing. If the mixture is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve. This will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
3. French Dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Combine all the ingredients in a blender — or use an immersion blender — and turn the machine on; a creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste and add vinegar a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. If the mixture is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve. This is best made fresh but will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
4. Soy Vinaigrette
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Put all the ingredients in a deep bowl; using an immersion blender or a whisk, combine until emulsified. Taste and add vinegar, lime juice, or soy sauce a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. This is best made fresh but will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
There’s an enlightening article on Oprah.com, “How Can a Bag of Chips Cost Less Than an Apple?“, written by author Daphne Oz. Fueled by frustration with the high cost of eating well – organic dairy and fresh-squeezed juice, and salads, for example – as opposed to eating poorly – because of the the ubiquity and relative bargain of processed foods like burgers – she set out to determine how this situation came to pass.
Ms. Oz traces the history of mass-produced corn and wheat, and the attendant farm subsidies put in place to encourage the planting of these crops at the expense of most others, to the early 1900′s and the First World War. She relates the subsidized and, thus, low cost of these products to a resulting increase in demand by both humans and animals, and the subsequent creation of corn-related products to compensate in times of over-supply.
As the author rightly points out:
The worst of it is that American consumers are deliberately being kept in the dark when it comes to where, and how, and by whom their food is produced. Agricultural giants own the seeds, the fertilizer and pesticides, even the farms in some cases, and are well-equipped to limit how much can be said and how much can be done about their business practices. They spend money to divert your attention away from their operations—to make it difficult for you as a conscious consumer to discover what is going on, or to say anything about it if you do—because they’re worried that, once you find out the truth, you might not want to buy their products anymore. And you know what? They’re probably right.
So now you know at least part of the story. Read her article to learn the rest. It’s worth ten minutes of your time. And it just may change your habitual pattern in the grocery store and what end’s up in your cart. At least that’s the intent.
On the Today Show, dietitian Katherine Brooking set the record straight when it comes to the diet and nutrition myths surrounding a number of our favorite foods – think tempura and wine, for starters. Watch the video here.
Now on the Today Show website, Julie Upton, MS, RD, and Jackie Mills, MS, RD, take it one step further with their online article Dig in! 10 nutrition myths debunked. Their quest began with the notion that all deep-fried food is bad for you. “When we challenged ourselves to explore whether fried foods could be made healthy, we discovered that, when done properly under conditions any home cook can mimic, fried foods don’t have to be forever banished from a healthy diet.”
This exercise prompted them to uncover and challenge several other diet misconceptions, and suggest healthy recipes so that we can enjoy (guilt-free) the food we love to eat. Here’s the myth list. Check out the article for the “truths” and the authors’ “myth-buster” recipes.
- Added sugar is always bad for you.
- Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.
- All saturated fats raise blood cholesterol.
- The only heart-friendly alcohol is red wine.
- Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food.
- Fried foods are always too fatty.
- The more fiber you eat, the better.
- You should always remove chicken skin before eating.
- Organic food are more nutritious than conventional.
- Cooking olive oil destroys its health benefits.
Confession: I am a bit of a Today Show junkie. I zoom in and out over the course of the four hours (a workout here, a shower there, some writing throughout it all), but my ears always perk up when a renowned chef shows up to cook a signature recipe.
Yesterday was a bonanza. The chef parade began with Mario Batali, who prepared two delicious dishes featuring spring vegetables from his new cookbook “Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking.” The first was a salad of Shaved Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano (lemon in the dressing really sets it off) to be served alongside Penne alla Primavera (peas, morels or crimini mushrooms – my favorite – asparagus, and fava beans seasoned with scallions, basil, parsley, and mint). Both will be on my weekend menu.
Then it was on to Mark Bittman, author of “How to Cook Everything,” who showed us four delicious ways to roast, what is for some, the second-class chicken thigh. In, “Roast chicken thighs, four ways,” Mr. Bittman presents four marinades that are applied just prior to, and throughout, the roasting process (no need to marinade ahead of time): Honey-mustard sauce; Ginger-soy sauce; Chile-lime sauce; and Thai sauce. Easy and quick (just 30 minutes). Add some spring vegetables and you’re ready to go.
Not to be outdone, chef and co-owner of New York’s famed Gotham Bar and Grill Alfred Portale appeared to share an “easy, refreshing spring meal.” His recommendation: Grilled Mayan shrimp with spiced mango and avocado salad. Think pepper and citrus for this light, flavorful meal. Portale suggests mounding the salad in the center of a platter surrounded by the shrimp and serving family-style.
Lastly, the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour featured a cook-off segment, “Dinner and desserts for $20 and less: Three celebrity chefs whip up some money-saving meals.” Chefs Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat, Carmen Gonzalez and Marcus Samuelsson — all competing in “Top Chef Masters” — prepared their versions of a delicious, nutritious dinner-and-dessert that won’t break the bank. On the menu: Risotto with spring pea sauce and button mushrooms along with Vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote (Bradley); Grouper filet with chorizo, leeks, corn, and root vegetable stew followed by Flan with caramel sauce (Gonzalez); and Fried chicken with spinach and Apple cake (Samuelsson).
All of this in one day … there’s certainly something for everybody.
I stumbled upon a terrific blog today – the Svelte Gourmand – written by Sara Reistad-Long and Camille Noe Pagan, two food- and wine-obsessed writers for such publications as The New York Times, Forbes, Gourmet, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Esquire, Self, Cooking Light and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Contrary to what some health and diet websites would have you believe, you really can have a hanger steak, sip a glass of Cabernet and even splurge on a cupcake while keeping the numbers on the scale in check. How do we know? Because we’re living proof that good and good-for-you can go hand in hand.
On the Svelte Gourmand, they show you how. You’ll find recipes, like Go a little Irish: Easy (and iron-rich) beef-and-Guinness stew, Bistro Bagatelle’s lobster-tajine-made-easy, and Spice up your health: Savory sausage and chickpeas. Then, there are informative food tips: Metabolism-booster to superfood: Four things to know about quinoa, The slimming difference between sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and Seaweed: Surprising fat fighter, and insightful interviews with foodie members of their Lean Plate Club.
Try it. You might like it. I know I did.
In today’s GOOP newsletter, Gwyneth Paltrow talks to chef Jamie Oliver about his Food Revolution. She’s obviously a fan, as am I. I wrote about Jamie Oliver’s quest to change how and what we eat in my post, Is It Time to Revive Home Economics Classes? I was serious about it then and I am now, which is the reason I’m bringing your attention to the newsletter.
The most enlightening part of the interview, beyond the recipes which I’ll get to in a moment, is when GOOP asked:
Give us a little bit of knowledge on what is happening to us as we are eating more and more fast and processed foods? What are the real risks here?
To which Jamie Oliver replied:
Well, I think it’s pretty simple really: forty years ago we ate mostly fresh, local food, and we knew where that food was coming from. But then fast and heavily processed foods crept in and totally changed our palettes and food businesses. And ultimately, this food is killing us. Obesity and weight gain are the most obvious symptoms, but the problem I have in telling this story is that there are also loads of skinny people suffering because the garbage they are eating is affecting them in a different, but equally dramatic way.
Another real risk I see is that we’re in danger of completely losing touch with all the best things about food. I’ve worked all over the UK and the US and I’ve been in many homes with no kitchen table at all. I know that’s got nothing to do with health directly, but it means there’s no sitting down together, no conversation, no family meals. I’ve gone into schools where kids are eating with their hands instead of knives and forks, and they can’t tell me what a potato or a tomato is… I think that’s pretty shocking. If our kids aren’t learning about food at home, we’ve got to make sure they learn at school in a contemporary, relevant, and exciting way.
He covers it all. And he’s not joking. If you’ve not yet seen his six-part series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC, do make a point of checking it out. The facts that he cites above were on display in the first two episodes.
Now for the recipes he’s designed to encourage us to take up the crusade. What I like about Jamie Oliver’s creations is that they use fresh, simple ingredients, are full of flavor (herbs and spices are prominent features), and are easy to prepare. There’s not a boring dish in his cookbooks, nor is there one in the GOOP newsletter: Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous, Asian Chicken Noodle Broth, and Classic Tomato Spaghetti. He also provides us with several “Jam Jar Dressings” to make ahead and keep on-hand, the intention being that we eat more salad: French dressing, Yogurt dressing, Lemon dressing; and Balsamic dressing. There are no excuses now.