Something Greater

Great But Not as Great as...

Great:

 

I hate even calling this one great. Cheese can be a many savory, decadent, blissfully creamy things. But when it comes sliced, packaged and dyed bright orange it's less than appealing in comparison to some other options out there.

Cheese, in nearly any form, is stock full of calcium. But most also are stocked full of fat, calories and sodium. Now you just have to choose how you want to consume that fat. There are many options out there that are healthier and cleaner option. You didn't think I would abstaining from cheese altogether, would you? I tend to be partial to goat's cheeses, for several reasons.

Something Greater:

 

Goat's cheese is the epitome of all savory, decadent and blissfully creamy things. But getting to the facts...

Why Goat's cheese is greater:

  • Easier to digest
  • Lower in fat
  • Higher in calcium
  • Higher in protein
  • No additives
  • No preservatives (typically - but check your label)
  • No growth hormones
  • Contains probiotics (the "good" bacteria)

Which all and all makes for a much tastier, much more enjoyable cheese. I'd say it's worth the indulgence.

For more on goat cheese : Belle Chevre

 

 

Great, but not as Great as...

Just recently I wrote about my cereal fixation. Though I'm an oatmeal kind of person, who appreciates a breakfast that is wholesome and satisfying, I've gotten my hand into some other healthy cereals in these hot summer months. While most of us believe a box when it tells us  it's "naturally sweetened, multigrain," full of protein and fiber, cereal boxes can be very deceiving....  

Here's one that typically is considered super healthy:

 

It's good, but here's one a little better :

 

While many Kashi products are healthy, they are not all one in the same. Though they're healthy, they're still a processed and not purely "whole grain." Where the Go Lean Crunch is super tasty (not going to lie -  it's almost like a healthy kettle popcorn in a bowl,) Cinnamon Harvest is about 10 grams less in sugar, nearly half the calories and made of only 3 recognizable ingredients compared to Go Lean's 15 ingredients with less familiar items, like soy protein.

Now the Cinnamon Harvest is nothing more than wheat, cane juice and cinnamon. When all is said and done it's more satisfying and where the first is more calorie dense, the second is more nutrition dense, full of much more satisfying fiber and easier to digest.

The top two are good and great, they're not as great as...

Ezekiel Cereal ingredients: Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Whole Millet, Organic Sprouted Whole Barley, Organic Almonds, Organic Sprouted Whole Lentils, Organic Sprouted Whole Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Whole Spelt, Filtered Water, Sea Salt.

Ezekiel Cereal has no sugar and can be an acquired taste but once acquired you'll understand how satisfying this cereal can be ( about as much as oatmeal.) Take a look at the ingredients and you'll know you're making a healthy choice when your eating this stuff.

Of course if you don't like it, don't eat it. In no way do I encourage eating something you don't like. Eating should be a joy. Life is too short, right? But then again if you take my advice, it may help keep life from being too short. Just a thought...

Great, But Not as Great as...

“What if what I think is great, really is great, but not as great as something greater.” (Matthew M. – The Wedding Planner) Above is a favorite quote of mine. Sometimes what we think is "great" isn't always the best, and certainly not always "greater" (excuse my english) for us.

In America we like to have the greatest of everything. Our culture works hard to have access to the best of everything.  And when we discover what we have isn't always the greatest, we feel jipped. Ok, at least I do. More often than not, concerning our food, we over-compensate out of this need to make everything better and bigger. That was just to preface these "Great, But Not as Great as..." posts, where I want to share with you somethings that are "great, but not as great as something... greater."

This summer I was asked to teach on healthy eating and cooking. During one class where we talked about snack food options, I encountered a bit of a disagreement over Dannon yogurts with some women who believe it to be very good for you. Good?  Maybe. Let's start there: What you think is good, may not be so good.

Good:

Dannon Light & Fit

Good - ehh? Yes, it's full of probiotics (fermented foods with active cultures.) But when it's also filled with sucralose (fake sugar,) fructose (sugar,) added gelatin (to keep it jello- like,) and three different dyes for color, my guess is it isn't really "good" per se.

Great:

 Voskos Flavored Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is great for you, full of natural probiotics & calcium. However these flavored yogurts (even the honey-flavored) often contain sugar, honey and corn starch, like the one above.

Greater:

 Fage Greek Yogurt

Here we have untainted yogurt. No sugar, no corn starches - pure probiotics and purely delicous. It initially is an aquired taste but paired with the right foods it is really a satisfying breakfast or snack.

Try it with:

granola

honey and cinnamon

or some blueberries with a drizzle of  almond butter

Plain yogurt is also good for you, just try to stick with organic such as Horizon's, that is free of additives and preservatives. After you eat your dannon sugar free, low-fat yogurt try a bite of Greek yogurt and you'll soon understand what you've been missing.

Save your Star"bucks"!

"'Tis the season"... to blow a lot of money on Starbucks holiday drinks. Who can blame you though, when visions of  eggnog lattes and peppermint mochas dance in your head when entering the aesthetically appeasing franchise . Starbucks is a place I frequent - holidays or not. And after working there 6 years plus, you'd think one would be sick of coffee, but no. Starbucks effortlessly captures each season within a cup. And as much as I love the Christmas coffee creations every year at Starbucks, my wallet and pant size beg to differ.

So after succumbing to my deep appreciation (or addiction) to coffee, I've managed to find healthier beverage choices and at the same time save a buck or two. Here are some worth trying and if you hate it ... just let Starbucks know it's not to your liking. As they do promise - you'll get your drink perfect every time.

Instead of ...

Peppermint Mocha

costs

$4.00

450 calories

fat 16 grams

Try

Americano with Mocha & Peppermint

save

$1.00

200 calories

9 grams of fat

Instead of ...

Eggnog Latte

costs

$3.75

470 calories

21 grams of fat

Try

Americano w/ steamed eggnog

save

$ 1.50

320 calories

15 grams of fat

Instead of...

Gingerbread Latte

costs

$3.75

320 calories

13 grams of fat

Try

Coffee of the day with gingerbread

save

$1.50

200 calories

13 grams of fat

Instead of...

Chai Latte

costs

$3.25

240 calories

a whopping 41 grams of sugar

Try

Chai tea with steamed milk & honey

save

$1.00

80 calories

and save yourself a sugar rush

*All drinks are approximately based upon a grande size and prices may differ.

Flavors of the Week

It's official. Starbucks is now serving coffee in their red and loud, festive Christmas cups. The Holiday season is here! No other 2 months of the year seem to go by as quickly as November and December for me. Probably because I get so ridiculously excited for the holidays. As a kid the first week of November meant halloween candy Mom would buy on clearance, eggnog lattes, pumpkin-flavored anything, creamy mushroom soup... the list goes on. But there came a point when I realized I couldn't eat all this every day through November and December (let's not forget New Year's day - because of course our resolutions don't kick in until January 2nd.) Finally reaching an age of self-control and some common sense, I learned how to portion out these indulgences and pace myself through the holidays. While still managing to get a taste of the holidays each day.

Cause really... who says you can't enjoy the flavors of the seasons everyday?

Well let me indulgde you with this... enjoying your favorite seasonal spices and flavors on a daily basis will help you loose weight. Roasted garlic, chopped chives, simmering thyme and (my personal favorite) the holy trio of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are powerfully potent spices that will help you feel more satisfied with each meal and help you loose your unwanted fat. The variety of spices are about as wide as variety of produce.

The flavors of this week are thyme and ginger.

Thyme helps relieves coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Thyme also has a pronounced effect on the respiratory system; in addition to fighting infections, it dries mucous membranes and relaxes spasms of the bronchial passages.

Perfect for cold season.

Winter vegetable soup

(adapted from Everyday Food magazine Nov. 2009)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 pound acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chuncks

1 bunch kale (3/4 - 1 pound), ribs cut off and discarded, roughly chopped

5 1/2 cups of range-free chicken stock

1 can of cannellini beacs

3 sprigs of thyme

grated Parmesan, for serving (optional... but highly recommended)

In a large pot, simmer oil, onion and garlic until golden over medium heat ( about 3 minutes.) Add squash and kale and cook until kale is wilted (another 3 minutes); season with salt and pepper. Add broth, beans and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and kale are tender, around 12 minutes. Serve soup with salt and pepper and parmesan if desired. And you should!

Ginger also relieves colds, upset stomaches, morning sickness as well as reduces reduce heartburn, migraine and menstrual pain. Studies show that ginger also can help reduce the spread of ovarian and colon cancer.

Nonfat Gingersnaps

(may just be my favorite cookies of all time)

Makes twenty to twenty-two cookies

Inspired by a recipe by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

1 cup, packed (180g) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (75g) applesauce

1/3 cup (45g) molasses (preferably mild-flavored)

2 1/4 cups (315g) flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 cup (50g) finely-chopped candied ginger

additional sugar (about 1/2 cup, 100g) mixed with a big pinch of cinnamon for rolling the cookies

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses for five minutes at medium speed. Meanwhile sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.

After five minutes add the egg whites. Beat another minute. With the mixer at its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients and mix on medium for one minute more.

Stir in the chopped candied ginger. Chill the batter very well.

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Pour some cinnamon-scented granulated sugar in a shallow baking dish. Scoop the cookies into heaping tablespoon-sized balls (about the size of an unshelled walnut) and roll them in the sugar.

Afterward, use your hands to form the dough into sugar-coated balls: don’t be shy with the sugar either. It not only helps to shape the sticky dough, but makes a tasty crust for the cookies.

Evenly space the dough on the two baking sheets, leaving room between them to spread.

Bake no more than 13 minutes, or until the cookies feel just barely set in the center. Which I find normally at 11 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Idea for a heartier version :

If you like a crunchier ginger cookie, these are great with an additional 1/4 cup of olive or coconut oil adding in with the wet ingredients.

So it's a win-win. Eat more spices and you'll eat better and live better.

Thanks to our guest photographer extraordinaire (and professional calligrapher) - Pam Crosby!