Archive for September, 2012

Best Ways to Cook Vegetables

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Best Ways to Cook Vegetables

By Peter Jaret
Reviewed By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Nutrition experts may quibble over some things. But there’s one piece of advice they all agree on: Eat your vegetables.

Vegetables are among the healthiest foods. They’re brimming with vitamins, minerals, and other substances our bodies need for optimum performance and robust immunity. The more vegetables people eat on a regular basis, research shows, the lower their risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

Why do so many Americans fall short on even the minimum recommended numbers of servings? One reason may be that preparing and cooking vegetables can seem complicated and intimidating.

It doesn’t need to be, says Amy Myrdal Miller, RD, a dietitian at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. “These days, convenience foods such as pre-washed greens and frozen vegetables like spinach and corn make preparation a lot easier.”

As for cooking vegetables, any technique is great, expect for deep frying of course. “I think most nutritionists would agree that any way you cook vegetables is fine, as long you eat plenty of them,” says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, RD, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and instructor at California State University, Sacramento.

By experimenting with a variety of techniques, you’ll find fresh ways to entice everyone in the family to come back for seconds.

Sautéing Vegetables

The word sauté comes from the French verb meaning “to jump.” It refers to the way foods added to a hot, lightly-oiled pan tend to jump. Sautéing is a quick and easy way to cook vegetables with relatively little oil. Sautéed vegetables retain their vitamins and minerals, as well as taste and color. This method is best suited for tender vegetables, such as asparagus, baby artichokes, snow peas, sweet peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Kitchen Tip: Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces so they can cook all the way through quickly. Heat the pan first over relatively high heat. Add oil. Wait until the oil begins to shimmer before adding the vegetables. Cooking time depends on the desired tenderness.

Stir-Frying Vegetables

Stir-frying is very similar to sautéing, with two important differences. Stir-frying is done over very high heat, and the food is constantly stirred to prevent it from burning on the hot pan. Stir-frying is often done in a wok, the classic utensil of Chinese cooking. But you can also stir in a sauté pan, as long as the bottom is thick enough to distribute the high heat evenly.

Kitchen Tip: Sautéing and stir-frying are best done with a cooking oil that stands up to high heat, such as canola oil. Once vegetables are done, you can toss them with a flavored oil such as olive or sesame oil.

Boiling or Simmering Vegetables

Like sautéing, boiling vegetables is a quick and easy technique. When you want to retain the flavor and crispness of vegetables such as green beans or broccoli, wait until the water is at a full boil. Toss in the vegetables and cook them quickly, a technique called blanching. Simmering also uses water to cook vegetables, but at a lower temperature, before the water begins to boil. This slow-cooking technique is great for dried bean, potatoes, beets and other root vegetables that require longer periods of cooking in order to become tender.

Kitchen Tip: Adding salt to boiling water enhances the flavor of vegetables. Don’t overdo it. Vegetables shouldn’t taste salty. And of course excess salt increases the risk of high blood pressure.

Roasting Vegetables

Roasting vegetables such as asparagus, squash, or onions is as simple as putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling them with a little vegetable oil, and popping them in a 400 degree oven. “The high oven temperature of roasting cooks meat and vegetables quickly and caramelizes the sugars on the surface, creating a crunchy and sweet flavor,” says Scott Samuel, a chef and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Roasting helps to preserve not only vitamins and minerals, but also flavors that can be lost with boiling.

Kitchen Tip: Build a meal around foods that can all be roasted in the oven, such as roasted chicken or fish and roasted vegetables. Seasonings such as bay leaves, garlic, or mixed spices can be added for flavor.

Steaming Vegetables

Steamed vegetables are synonymous with healthy eating for good reason. Steaming cooks vegetables without submersing them in water, so they are more likely to retain vitamins and minerals. Unlike sautéing, steaming doesn’t require oil, so it’s a great way to prepare vegetables if you’re watching calories. The best vegetables for steaming include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens like spinach, and other relatively tender vegetables.

Kitchen Tip: Aromatic spices such as cinnamon sticks, lemongrass, and ginger can be added to the steaming liquid to permeate vegetables with subtle flavor.

Grilling Vegetables

When the weather is warm, grill vegetables outside on the barbecue. Like roasting, grilling locks in flavor and caramelizes the surface of vegetables, giving them a crispy sweetness. Grilling is a terrific way to prepare corn, sweet peppers, zucchini and other squash, onions, potatoes, and a variety of other vegetables.

Kitchen Tip: If you have a gas cook top, you can grill vegetables inside all year round. Hold the vegetables with tongs above the flame, turning to cook them evenly. Another option is to place vegetables on a grilling basket over the flame. Bell peppers, available most of the year, are perfect for grilling over a stove top.

Making Vegetable-Based Sauces

Vegetables feature in many classic sauces and spreads. A classic favorite from Spain, romesco sauce, combinesgood food processor,with almonds, hazelnuts, olive oil, and vinegar to create a flavorful sauce that can be used with fish or vegetable dishes. Classic Italian pesto sauce is made with generous handfuls of basil blended with pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. To make a rich-tasting vegetarian pate, sauté mushrooms and onions, season with Italian spices or herbs de Provence, and blend in a kitchen blender.

Kitchen Tip: Invest in a good food processor, which makes vegetable-based sauces and spreads much easier.

10 Worst Foods In Your Pantry

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

10 Worst Foods In Your Pantry

1. Soda and Sweetened Beverages

Some of the worst foods in their pantry are soda and other sweetened drinks because these contribute refined carbohydrate calories without nutrients. David Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education for the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, puts any type of soda at the top of his “worst” list. Some might be surprised that sweetened teas and energy drinks rival the sugar in soda with about 50 grams of sugar per 16-ounce bottle.

2. High Sugar, Low Fiber Breakfast Cereals

Cold cereals were among the top sources of added sugar for children between the ages of 2 and 8, according to a recent report. A cereal that lists a refined grain and sugar as the first two ingredients won’t satisfy your hunger through the morning and it won’t contribute important nutrients, which come from whole foods like whole grains, nuts, or dried fruit.

3. Snack Cakes and Cupcakes

Snack cakes have three of the four ingredients we need to eat less of: refined flour, added sugars, and saturated fat. The typical snack cake serving, such as two Hostess Ho Hos, contains 228 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 28 grams of sugar. Keep in mind that 9 grams of saturated fat is half the maximum daily amount of saturated fat recommended for someone eating 1,800 calories a day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

4. Movie Theater or Mega Butter Microwave Popcorn

The “Extra Butter” or “Movie Theater” microwave popcorn choices are some of the last products that still have shocking amounts of trans fat in them with a small serving of 3 tablespoons (unpopped) containing about 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat. Each serving also adds at least 300 milligrams of sodium to your day’s total.

5. Chips and Cheetos

This popular snack group category made the list because they are processed with gobs of fat and sodium and usually include a refined grain. A 2-ounce bag of chips or Cheetos usually adds more than 300 calories, 20 grams of fat, and over 450 milligrams of sodium. The worst part is we tend to eat too much of them because even a 2-ounce portion doesn’t seem to satisfy our stomach.

6. Packaged Muffins and Cereal Bars

You expect Pop Tarts to be full of sugar (about 16 grams of sugar each) but you might be surprised to learn that even the more healthful sounding cereal bars or packaged muffins contain about the same amount of sugar (or more) than your typical toaster pastry. Otis Spunkmeyer brand muffins contribute about 30 grams of sugar per 4-ounce muffin, Weight Watchers muffins add about 20 grams of sugar per 2.2-ounce muffin, and a small Nutri-Grain cereal bar has 13 grams of sugar.

7. Crackers (made with refined flour)

They are so easy to eat a lot of because they are bite-size and crunchy. A few years ago crackers were held together with partially hydrogenated fat (which added trans fat) and now the trans fats are mostly gone, but most crackers are still low in fiber and high in sodium.

8. Yeast Breads (made with refined flour)

Yeast breads, from hot dog buns to Texas toast, made the “worst” list for two reasons: They are one of the biggest sources of refined flour in the typical American diet and they are also the No. 1 source of sodium among the U.S. population.

9. Store-Bought Cookies (especially the chocolate coated ones)

Grain desserts, which includes cookies, are a major source of added sugars, more so than dairy desserts or candy, according to a new report. Some commercial cookies are higher in fat, saturated fat and sugar than others but they all usually start with refined flour. The chocolate coated cookies tend to have the most saturated fat (about 5 grams per 3 cookie serving).

10. Canned Soup and Instant Noodle Cups

Some choices in the soup aisle have half a day’s worth of sodium in a serving. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend half the U.S. population, including people aged 51 and older and those of any age who are African-American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, reduce their sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day.

BRIT women world’s biggest boobs due to TEA drinking – Keeley Hazell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

BRIT women world’s biggest boobs due to TEA drinking – Keeley Hazell

15 Jan 2010
BRITISH women have the world’s biggest boobs because they drink TEA, says Page 3 beauty Keeley Hazell.

The 23-year-old revealed her theory after showing off her 32E cleavage in US mag Maxim.
Keeley was asked if all UK girls were so well endowed.

Londoner Keeley, now living in LA to pursue an acting career, said: “Sadly enough, I have actually Googled this. And British women have the largest breasts in the world.

“It has to be something in the tea we’re always drinking.”

But for all girls now reaching for the kettle, Keeley warned: “With great breasts comes horrible backache.”


Wong Lo Kat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Wong Lo Kat is also a type of Chinese herbal tea. It tastes like herbal tea.

The JDB Group is a Hong Kong-based, large-scale enterprise that focuses its business in the production and sales of specialized beverages. In 1995, the group launched the first red-canned “Wong Lo Kat”. In 1999, the group set up its production base as a foreign capital enterprise in Chang An Town of Dongguan, Guangdong Province. It also set up individual production plants in Beijing, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangzhou.

SOURCE: China Knowledge

10 Ways We Waste Water

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

10 Ways We Waste Water
May 25, 2010 | By Casey Holley

Water shortages in some areas of the country are common, even in areas where fresh water seems abundant. Conserving water is important because, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, only 2.8 percent of the water on the Earth’s surface is suitable for consumption.

Leaving Water Running
When you brush your teeth, take a shower, wash your face or wash dishes, you will waste a lot of water if you leave the water running. Turn the water off when you don’t need water, such as when you lather up in the shower. You can always turn the water back on when you need to rinse.

Partial Loads
Running the dishwasher or washer with only a partial load, especially if the load size isn’t adjustable on the appliance, can waste a lot of water. To conserve water, wait until you have a full load or purchase a new appliance with adjustable load sizes.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District states that even a slow water leak can waste up to 300 gallons of water per month. Check for leaks by reading your water meter and then returning 30 minutes later to recheck the reading. During that time, no water should be used. If the meter reading changes, you have a leak.
Automatic Pool Refilling
Automatic pool refilling devices constantly refill the water level in your pool. These devices can make it difficult to realize that your pool or pump is leaking. Instead of these devices, install a recirculation pump and keep an eye on the water level so you know if your pool is leaking.
Baths or Long Showers
Taking a full bath or a long shower uses a lot of water, up to 50 gallons notes the EPA. Instead, take a 5-minute shower or only fill the bathtub up a third of the way. In addition to saving water, you will save money on heating the water.
Inefficient Appliances and Fixtures
High flow toilets, shower heads, faucets and other appliances waste a considerable amount of water. The California Energy Commission states that 75 percent of water used in a home is in the bathroom. Changing these items only in the bathroom can save a lot of water, but changing them throughout the house is even better.
Constant Flow Recreational Toys
Toys that require a constant flow of water waste a lot of water. If your child has a toy like this, use it in an area of the yard that needs to be watered and limit the amount of time the toy is used.

Vehicle Washes
Car washes and washing your vehicle with a hose can waste water. Some car washes now have recycling pumps so any water used is recycled for another wash but try to avoid car washes that don’t recycle the water. If you wash your vehicle with a hose, wet the vehicle and then turn the water off while you scrub it. Turn the water back on to rinse.

Linen Changes
Hotels, motels and other similar facilities waste a lot of water on daily linen changes. When you are at home, you probably don’t wash your sheets daily, so don’t have them washed daily at the hotel unless you are going to bed filthy at night

Driveway Cleaning
Rinsing off your driveway instead of sweeping it off or using a blower to blow the debris off is a waste of water. Use a deck brush or broom with water only on heavily soiled areas of the driveway and then allow the area to dry. Once it is dry, sweep up dirt or debris.

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Food, too, is wasted on the young

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Food, too, is wasted on the young
by Alexandra Smith

A LAST-MINUTE decision to eat out regardless of what is at home in the fridge, a poor understanding of best-before dates and lazy shopping habits mean young people are among the biggest culprits of food waste in NSW.
Figures from the state government’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign show that people aged 18-24 waste between $24.90 and $26 of food every week, contributing to the $2.5 billion of food thrown away in NSW each year.
Fresh food is the most likely to hit the bin, followed by leftovers and packaged or long-life food, the figures reveal.
The Australian arm of the international aid agency Oxfam is so concerned about the amount of food young people waste in NSW it is has launched an online program to encourage consumers to change their habits.

With funding from the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s grants program, Oxfam Australia will urge young people to upload their solutions to food waste and have a role in tackling global hunger.
The Design for Change co-ordinator at Oxfam Australia, Sophie Weldon, said the campaign was about raising awareness. “Almost a third of food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted,” Ms Weldon said.
“There is enough food to feed the total global population of 7 billion people, yet almost 1 billion people go hungry every night.”
Ms Weldon said young consumers were less likely to have routines, which made it more difficult to avoid wasting food. They were also less inclined to stick to a shopping budget.
Ms Weldon said the best ideas shared through the campaign would be selected for publication in an e-book and distributed to organisations working on reducing food waste in Australia.

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