Why Frenchwomen Aren’t Just Skinny

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That’s it. For the sake of your health it is time to book a flight to France. Or maybe Italy. Or maybe Israel.  A new study published that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by 30%. Forget the American idea that you should be eating a low fat diet because that generally just means you are eating a bunch of processed foods that have no health benefits. Keep in mind, this new study found that the Mediterranean diet does not necessarily contribute to weight loss. But if your dead from heart failure, who cares how skinny you are, right?

To read more about this study:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/health/mediterranean-diet-can-cut-heart-disease-study-finds.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

A great Mediterranean appetizer from The Wishful Chef:

Marinated Olives Recipe

3/4 cup Kalamata olives, or a mixture of green & black
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, or preferred amount
2 whole garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 whole dried bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.

2. Store covered in the fridge. When ready to serve, take out and bring to room temperature with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top.

Recommended to be served with bread, cheese and charcuterie, or simply on its own as a snack.

photo credit: http://www.wishfulchef.com/2012/06/marinated-olives/

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I Heart Alice

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Love and Live by Alice Water’s Green Kitchen Manifesto:

1. Delicious, affordable, wholesome food is the goal of the green kitchen.
2. Buy food that is organic, local, and seasonal.
3. Cooking and shopping for food brings rhythm and meaning to our lives. (This one is my favorite!)
4. Simple cooking techniques can be learned by heart.
5. Cooking equipment that is durable and minimal simplifies the cooking.
6. Setting the table and eating together teaches essential values to our children. (My other favorite!)

 

Alice Waters is the mother of the organic and local food movement that we are benefiting from today. The spring of Farmer’s Markets, Whole Foods, and restaurants that boast seasonal cooking can be attributed to Alice, when 40 years ago she began her crusade to encourage people and restaurants buy fresh, local, and organic to enhance the experience at the table.  Alice Waters’ famous restaurant Chez Pannise, in Berkeley, California has been open since 1984 (the original farmer’s market driven menu), she is the author of countless cookbooks, and has been on the forefront of the political movement to educate school children about eating organic and cooking from the garden.

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Broccoli 90210

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Today the broccoli obsession continues.

Here is a list of the best (by best I mean most delicious and healthfully prepared) places  in Los Angeles to order broccoli:

M Café, Beverly Hills and Hollywood (roasted with flaxseed and Miso)

Porta Via, Beverly Hills (simply grilled with olive oil and lemon)

Lemonade, locations all over LA (ricotta, champagne vinaigrette)

Whole Foods, hot bar (roasted broccoli and garlic)

The Farmshop, Brentwood (roasted with chilies and olive oil)

 

Here is an outstanding recipe that is simple, delicious and easy to make. Either a great snack or when combined with a protein and a carbohydrate is a balanced meal. (Suggested pairing: grilled chicken sausage and whole wheat penne; tuna salad on whole wheat bread; brown rice and a sunny side up egg.)

 

Broccoli and Garlic with Hot Pepper

1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 lb.),
stemmed and cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli; cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Sprinkle in 2 tbsp. water; add garlic; cook until golden, 2–3 minutes. Add chile; cook until toasted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Broccoli-with-Garlic-and-Hot-Pepper-Broccoli-Strascinati

Meatless Monday & Broccoli Love

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‘Tis the season for broccoli! Ok, it may not sound as appealing as sugar cookies, but it’s not really fair that broccoli has a bad rap. Years of being forced by your grandma to eat limp, stinky, badly prepared broccoli may have scared you, but it turns out that you can probably get over it when you learn how to make it taste good and all the incredible health benefits it has.

Here are just a few of the many health benefits of broccoli:

~Anti-inflamatory from rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol.

~Aids digestion with the large amount of fiber.

~Detoxification properties with the strong combination of vitamin A in the form of a beta-carotene, and vitamin K.

~Regulates blood pressure

Here is a recipe for broccoli soup which is a delicious way to get broccoli into your diet. Keep in mind this recipe is part of a balanced meal; you still need a carb and a protein. Try eating this with chicken and roasted carrots; brown rice and salmon, or simply top with mozzarella cheese!

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups broccoli florets

6 cups vegetable stock

3 tablespoons, olive oil

salt, pepper, thyme

optional: greek yogurt, green onion, truffle oil

1. Saute onion, garlic, and celery in a large pot over medium high heat until soft. Sprinkle with salt pepper and thyme.

2. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add broccoli. Bring the liquid to a soft rolling boil. Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes.

3. In baches, add soup to a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Garnish with green onion, greek yogurt and/or truffle oil.

photo credit: glow kitchen.com

The Relish Life Farmer’s Market

Each week Relish Life will be featuring a seasonal item that you can find at local farmer’s markets.  You will discover the health benefits, the holistic properties, easy recipes, and restaurants that make exceptional dishes with the week’s featured seasonal produce.  Please email me your favorite preparations and/or photos, too!

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photo credit: http://www.emilieandleassecrets.com

Seasonal Eating

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Sunday mornings=Farmer’s Markets. This time of year there is a lot of broccoli so here are some seasonal recipe ideas:

Vegan Broccoli Soup (Recipe tomorrow)

Roasted Broccoli and garlic (Toss broccoli and garlic cloves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on 425 until browned.)

Broccoli Puree (Steam broccoli. Put in a food processor with avocado, spices, and a splash of chicken stock.)

Broccoli and cheese (roast broccoli and toss with a generous amount of parmesan.)

Broccoli salad (toss cooked broccoli florets with dried cranberries, chicken, greek yogurt, slivered almonds, coriander and tumeric.)

Dip in hummus or Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach and Kale Dip.

 

 

photo credit: cookingcanuck.com

Your New Favorite Lunch

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A balanced meal=carb+protein+fat.

Il Tramezzino makes a great and balanced salad that is easy to make at home, too (if you aren’t in the LA area).
Chopped lettuce, tomato & carrot (carb), cucumber, roasted eggplant, basil, avocado (fat), and chicken (protein).

Tip: Skip the bread. You get enough carbs from the tomato and carrots. Ask for dressing on the side. You don’t need the extra calories from the amount they dump on.

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Be a Mensch. Eat Some Chocolate

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This weekend is Oscar weekend which means you may or may not care and you may or may not be going to an Oscar party. Whether it is an Oscar party, or some other gathering, it is always best to show up with a little hostess gift.

I like making something sweet because that means it doesn’t stay around my house and tempt me, but I still get to sample it.  I allow myself to have a small amount of dessert every day but if it is around my house then there is a HUGE chance I overindulge.

Rule #1 about being a mindful person: Never go anywhere empty handed. Always bring hostess gifts or give gifts to people who you appreciate.  Showing gratitude is a graceful quality and will actually make you a happier person.

Bark is genius because you can get super creative and make it any flavor you love.  No seriously, if all you have is a half eaten box of granola bars, a jar of peanut butter, or a bag of trail mix, you have a crowd pleasing dessert.

Super Easy Chocolate Bark for Great Impressions

A bag of chips (any size, white, dark, milk, butterscotch)

A mix in (granola, cereal-rice crispies are the best, oreos, nuts, carmel……)

A microwave

Tin Foil sprayed with no-stick spray

1. Put the chips in a bowl and melt the chips in the microwave.  Put the microwave on for a minute at a time then give the chips a stir until they are smooth and melted.

2. Toss in whatever combo of mix ins you fancy.  You need to eyeball it but it is usually 1 heaping cup of mix ins per bag of chips. You want the mix ins to have a thick coating of chocolate.

3. Spread the mixture on the tin foil, about ¼inch thick.  Either let stand or put in the freezer for quick hardening.

 

Break into pieces and eat or bag for gifts.

 

Photo credit: pbs.org

The Pretty Protein Shake

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I used to be so scared of protein shakes. All I knew was that my muscle hungry brothers had a habit of drinking them like a dog lapse up water in the dead of summer, and that just did not seem congruent (or appetizing) with my female mind or body.  I could not understand how they could ingest 200 calories like it was no big deal….don’t they understand how precious those calories are in a day?  Chalky, watery, mystery powder or a pint of sugar free frozen yogurt? For those calories I am choosing the frozen yogurt.

Then I turned 25 and all the sudden the same calories I always ate were no longer being processed as quickly as they were when I was younger. I was enlightened to the fact that the quality of calories matter in metabolic breakdown, not simply the total calorie count (though that matters, too).  To sum it up: 200 calories of chemical laden frozen yogurt is not used as efficiently in the body as 200 calories of a protein shake, thus making the protein shake a better choice for weight management and overall health. Dangit.

Rule #3 about being a mindful person: Take care of your body and love it. You only have one body in this lifetime and you should treat it as kindly as a Chanel handbag.  Take the time and energy to respect your body by making good food choices; people will notice. You become irresistible when you love and respect yourself.

So how was I going to make a protein shake taste amazing? Because the label “just add water” on the container certainly did not sound appetizing to my snobby palate.  With a few additions reminiscent of a fancy coffee shop or juice bar, I managed to make the protein shake a daily occasion I look forward to!

The Pretty Protein Shake Recipe:

1 scoop protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)

1 cup water (sometimes when I’m feeling extra fancy I use tea rather than water)

1/2 cup almond milk (chocolate or vanilla)

1/2 banana or 1 cup berries (adding fruit/carb to a protein shake makes this a balanced meal)

Ice (I like my shake icy so I use 2 cups but you can vary it depending on your taste)

6 drops of liquid vanilla flavored Stevia or couple splashes of Torani’s flavored syrup, you can get this at almost any grocery store. I use sugar free flavors (cinnamon vanilla, salted carmel, vanilla, raspberry…the flavors keep expanding)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Totally optional: 1 TBS Instant coffee (regular or decaf. Omit if using tea)

Put it all in a blender and drink up!

 

Photo credit: http://www.anediblemosaic.com