Wednesday, June 14, 2017

From Water To Dirt

Good evening you guys!! Sometimes I feel that three posts are too much and two posts are too little. Squeezing a lot in tonight : )

After working for a while mid-morning, I went to strength class (so glad I did!!) and then came home to make dinner. I always feel so accomplished when I make crockpot meals early in the day! LOL.

My sister wrote a post about some of her staple meals, and I immediately bookmarked this crockpot Mexican casserole. It turned out mostly like a chili for us, but that was just fine because it was awesome!

After throwing it all in the slow cooker, I made my own little lunch – a turkey + havarti cheese wrap with all.the.pickles. Jalapeños, banana peppers, dill pickles. Those count as veggies right?! Plus some chips and grapes.

I met Mazen at camp/the pool for a little afternoon fun after that!

You know how after you’ve been swimming for an hour all you crave is a nice little crispy crackery salty snack? Snyder’s of Hanover sent me some packs of their new Wholey Cheese crackers to feature in a sponsored spotlight, and I knew they would make the perfect addition to our pool bag : )

I actually came across an ad in HGTV Magazine this week that described these like so: “It’s like delicate crispy flowers were watered by a cheese sprinkler!” HAHA – I agree!! They are so light and airy, and I love that they have little cheese holes (wholeys!). They come in a bunch of flavors, like smoked gouda and the two you see above, and they are made with real cheese and no artificial flavors or preservatives. They are also gluten free for those of you who can’t have gluten but love crackers! Mazen loves ’em. #sponsoredbySnydersofHanover

After finishing up our snack, we jumped back in the pool and five seconds later…..the thunder rolled. Here he is back home not pleased about leaving the pool so fast while the sun was shining. (We would have stayed to ride out the thunder but the pool closed for a swim meet at 3pm.)

The squad.

We made the most of the afternoon though, and after showers we played “feuter” aka “theater” and rented the LEGO Batman Movie. I voted for Trolls or Moana but Batman won.

Snuggles were had by all.

When we got restless, we headed back outside to the garden to dig around. The Beanstalk Seeds are doing awesome!

We picked beans, carrots, radishes, spinach, and lettuce! Mazen did a great job tasting them all. Check Instagram for a cute video : )

This was my grandfather’s vegetable basket – so cool that I can use it for the same purpose!

So how was that chili? AWESOME. Topped with cheese, yogurt, and avocado. So good!! Mazen ate all of his too, which is a huuuuuge improvement from six months ago when he would have turned his nose up at something like this.

I’m about to get my little bean to bed. Thomas is out playing soccer, and I’m going to catch up on TV and reading!

Niiiiinight!

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One-Pan Chicken With Tomato Butter, Pancetta & Mozzarella

Thanks to Nuts.com for partnering with me on this blog post. As always, thank you for supporting CNC! 

In our house, we’re allllll about simple recipes, especially when it comes to dinner. Even though I’m a huge fan of meal prepping on Sundays and take full advantage of that time in the kitchen, I love having one-pan meals that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. And, of course, the fewer ingredients, steps, and dishes to clean, the better!

This recipe for One-Pan Chicken With Tomato Butter, Pancetta & Mozzarella couldn’t be easier to make – the steps are easy and quick. You only need one pan and 8 ingredients (many of which you probably already have in your kitchen) and dinner is served!

I also love that this recipe is so versatile. You can serve it with the sauce over pasta, quinoa, rice, or your favorite veggies. The leftovers also make a great sandwich as well as a satisfying addition to a green salad.

The star ingredient of this meal is the tomato butter. Holy cow, I need to stock my kitchen cabinets with this stuff! It was my first time trying it and I can say I am totally and completely obsessed! Made from a reduction of New York tomatoes and apples and enhanced with fresh ginger and spices, this tomato butter has a bright, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor. It tastes incredible on sandwiches and toast or paired with cheese and charcuterie. And, of course, this tomato butter is perfect when paired with chicken! I’m telling ya, you need to try this recipe! 🙂

One-Pan Chicken With Tomato Butter, Pancetta & Mozzarella

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds total)
  • 6 ounces tomato butter
  • 6 ounces marinara sauce
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 ounces mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for about 8 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, combine tomato butter, marinara sauce, pancetta, garlic, and basil in a mixing bowl.

Next, add this sauce to the skillet and then transfer skillet to oven and cook (uncovered) until chicken is fully cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven and top chicken with mozzarella slices. Turn oven to broil and return skillet to oven. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve chicken with sauce over pasta, quinoa, rice, or your favorite veggies!

Makes 4 servings

Questions of the Day

What’s your favorite one-pan dinner?

Have you ever tried tomato butter? 

P.S. Looking for more easy recipes? This Easy Balsamic Chicken With Roasted Potatoes & Royal Raisins comes together in no time!

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My 16 Favorite Fat Sources (Plus My Latest Big-Ass Salad)

Home » Diet & Nutrition

June 14, 2017

My 16 Favorite Fat Sources (Plus My Latest Big-Ass Salad)

By Mark Sisson

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Homemade Organic Egg Baked in Avocado with Salt and PepperGoing ketogenic has made me hone in on my fat sources even more than before. This is an essential practice for anyone seriously pursuing a ketogenic diet. As fat will comprise the majority of your calories, you need to maximize the nutrition you’ll obtain from the fats you choose. You could technically go keto using canola oil, refined coconut oil, and MCT oil powder—many of the ketogenic formulas used in epilepsy clinics are highly processed and refined—but I wouldn’t recommend it. Micronutrients still matter. They arguably matter even more when your food sources are restricted.

I try to get whole food fats. If the fat is isolated and extracted, I try to make sure it’s rich in micronutrients. If it’s low in micronutrients, I make sure I have a good reason to consume it.

There are many reasons. Some rooted more in nutrition, some more in pleasure, some convenience.

So what are my favorite fat sources? How do I use them? What do I find so appealing?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

From the historical precedent (1000s of years of heavy use in the Mediterranean and Levant), the clinical support (hundreds of trials showing beneficial effects), and the light peppery finish, it’s difficult for anyone to deny the beauty and enduring utility of a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil. I’ll. Even though EVOO is quite robust in the face of high heat, I still prefer using it in certain dressings and for lightly grilling fish, just to preserve the delicate flavor.

Go to a farmer’s market and buy the local olive oil that tastes best to you. Absent that, the EVOOs from California are usually quite good (and real).

Extra Virgin Avocado Oil

I rifled through dozens of avocado producers to find the perfect source of extra virgin avocado oil so that I could sell the best product, sure, but also because I wanted the best for myself. That’s ultimately how I come up with any of my projects and businesses—to scratch my own itches. It seems to be working, because I haven’t had a tastier oil that asserts itself without losing its capacity to work with other foods. EVOO doesn’t work with everything. EVAO, in my experience, does.

This one’s quite good. And all our Primal Kitchen dressings are made with avocado oil.

Coconut Milk in Smoothies and Curries

In powder form, coconut milk creates the creamiest, smoothest protein (whether whey or collagen) powder I’ve ever tasted, which is why I added it to Primal Fuel and Collagen Fuel. Plus, it’s a great source of medium chain triglycerides, special fatty acids that convert directly into ketones.

The fact that it’s a traditional fat used by many successful Pacific Islander cultures, sometimes in copious amounts, without any indication of poor health consequences is another mark in its favor.

I like Aroy-D in the small cartons.

Egg Yolks

Gram for gram, egg yolks are the most nutrient-dense fat around. And they’re not just something you scramble. They’re legitimate culinary fats. No, you won’t sautĂ© your veggies in egg yolk. That wouldn’t work. Egg yolks can provide the backbone of a salad dressing, like classic Caesar or one of my personal favorites (yolks, sesame oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, kosher salt, pepper, and a little avocado oil to round it out). You can drop them whole into sauces right after you turn off the heat to thicken. They blend well into smoothies and hot coffee.

Go for local pastured eggs if you can get them. If not, many grocery stores are starting to offer very good pastured eggs, and not just the health food stores. Vital Farms pastured eggs are very good and available pretty much everywhere, like Target and major grocery stores.

Emmental Cheese

Maybe next year it’s aged gouda. And the year after that, pecorino romano. but right now, I’m really digging Emmental cheese. If you haven’t had it, Emmental is a medium-hard Swiss-style cheese. It’s not intense like an aged gouda. It’s nutty and mild, so you have to really listen to the flavors to extract the most pleasure.

True Emmental comes from raw, grass-fed cow milk. Look for that kind.

It’s also my current favorite on my latest version of my Big-Ass (Keto) Salad. Emmental, along with avocado and avocado oil-based Caesar dressing, is in part what makes me call it my “fat bomb” salad. As most of you know, my Big Ass Salad has always been the centerpiece to my day, but it’s even more important now. It’s become a crucial vehicle for the delivery of my daily fat intake during my keto stretches. If you haven’t already, go check out my new and improved Big-Ass Keto Salad. Try it, and let me know what you think.

Final Fat Bomb Salad

Avocado

Slice it, smash it, spread it, Jeb it, even grill it. Avocado is the greatest. Even though I have ample access to all the avocado oil and avocado oil-based mayos and dressings I want, I still return to the humble avocado. Maybe it’s because I like the fiber and potassium. Maybe it’s because I like reducing the inflammatory load of my meals.

California hass all the way.

Grass-Fed Butter

These days, I mostly use grass-fed butter on any steamed veggie that enters my mouth. Broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, and dozens more. I’ll also dip shrimp in melted butter.

Kerrygold is a stalwart and available almost everywhere.

Bacon Fat for Sautéing Veggies and Frying Eggs

Man can’t live on bacon alone. It’s just not feasible or advisable to obtain the bulk of your calories from bacon strips. But if you keep some bacon fat around for sautĂ©ing veggies and frying eggs, you’ll always have that hint of bacon. Now, some caveats. I cook my bacon slow over low heat, which reduces oxidative damage to the fats. My bacon comes from pigs fed oats and barley, which creates a more oxidatively-stable fatty acid profile (higher in MUFAs, lower in PUFAs) and imbues the fat with more actual antioxidants. Don’t know what the pigs ate? The harder/firmer the raw bacon, the more saturated/monounsaturated/stable it’ll be.

Aim for pastured and/or firm bacon.

Ghee

I err on the side of tradition, usually. And if I’m making an Indian curry or sautĂ©ing some okra with mustard seed, turmeric, and ginger, I stick with ghee. That’s what these recipes were “meant” to include, and it tastes great. Ghee’s also a good option for high heat searing, since the proteins and lactose (which burn) have been completely removed.

I love the brown butter ghee from Tin Star.

Red Palm Oil

If I’m eating starch, I’ll often turn to red palm oil. A couple of red potatoes, baked, smashed (skin on), then doused with red palm oil, sprinkled with crunchy salt and a ton of cracked black pepper? Almost no one in the history of the world has eaten this, let alone eats this on a regular basis, but it’s really good. It’s also quite good on butternut squash (less starchy than potatoes) with turmeric, salt, and black pepper. (Both versions are strictly for my non-keto days.)  

As for African dishes, I’m far from an expert. What seems to work is sautĂ©ing garlic, onions, tomatoes, and ginger in red palm oil, then adding some protein (chicken or fish, usually), and stirring in a nut butter and perhaps some hot pepper toward the end.

Best stuff I’ve had came from a random West African market, sold in mason jars marked only with the country of origin. The redder the better. Good to look for sustainable sourcing, too. If you don’t have any of those nearby, this one’s good too.

Mac Nut Butter

I’ll eat other nuts, like Brazils (selenium) and almonds (magnesium), but I don’t consider them to be fat sources. They’re certainly rich in fat. They just have other macronutrients, too. Mac nuts are basically pure fat. Mac nut butter, if it comes from really good mac nuts (and there can be some duds), is so sweet and buttery that I consider a spoonful of it a worthy dessert.

I usually grind my own in the food processor.

Coconut Butter

Talk about dessert. A big spoonful of coconut butter provides a whopping dose of medium chain triglycerides and other saturated fats, plus fiber and manganese. I vastly prefer using a blend of coconut butter and bone broth to plain coconut milk when making curries. And that spoonful will really take the edge off while allowing you to remain ketogenic.

Artisana’s is the best I’ve had.

Tahini

Hummus shmummus. I like hummus. I really do, especially given my updated stance on legumes. But for the time being I’m strictly keto, and I can’t really eat more than a tablespoon of hummus and hope to maintain. Luckily, tahini—the sesame paste that’s integral to good hummus—is great on a spoon. If you get a good source, it’s actually quite sweet and, again, qualifies as a keto dessert. Tahini also works well in salad dressings.

MCT Oil

Sometimes coconut fat isn’t enough. Sometimes I want a more concentrated source of medium chain triglycerides to boost ketone production, like before a workout. These days, myfavorite pre-workout meal is a Collagen Fuel smoothie with extra MCT oil. The collagen fills my glycine reserves in preparation for connective tissue loading and healing, and the MCTs provide a bit more oomph.

I keep both powdered MCT oil and liquid on hand.

Whipped Cream with Mascarpone Cheese (and Lime Zest) on Berries for Dessert

The beauty of being fat-adapted is that you realize “sweet” is relative. The minuscule amounts of lactose in whipped cream and mascarpone are plenty sweet enough, especially combined with a bowl of ripe blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. If it’s not, you can add a pinch or two of sugar (or brown sugar, or honey, or even just stevia) to increase the sweetness without incurring too many carbs.

Throw the cream and mascarpone in a metal bowl using a 2:1 cream to mascarpone ratio and whip it up using an electric beater. And don’t forget the lime zest.

Steamed Heavy Cream in Coffee

What can I say? I’ve tried doing coffee black. If it’s a lighter roast, I can do it. But I still prefer steamed heavy cream in my coffee, and I’m done feeling bad about that. Sorry, barista in a bowtie. Now, you don’t need much. If you’re trying to increase fat intake, you can add more. If you just like the taste, I find a splash or two (as opposed to a glug or two) is plenty.

I grab something organic from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

That’s it for today, folks. Those are my favorite fat sources, as of right now. The list might change. It’ll probably grow; I don’t think I’ll suddenly tire of heavy cream or become convinced that coconut fat is killing us all.

What about you? What are your favorite fats? How do you eat them?

Thanks for reading. Take care, be well!

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I, also, like to live dangerously

I am just now getting a chance to sit down and blog! My Type A mind doesn’t like getting behind schedule. I was driving home from dropping Mazen off at camp and thinking “ahhhhh I haven’t blogged yet” and then I calmly reminded myself that I created this schedule : )

I was also thinking “ahhhh I need gas!” and “ahhhh my car is so dusty!!” When my gas gets this low I always think about Austin Powers.

I’m enjoying some sunbutter toast and a peach for breakfast this morning!

Last night we had our team’s first soccer win of the summer. We celebrated afterwards at Champion with Shower Beer and these amazing coconut shrimp tacos from the Two Brothers food truck. This was the best food truck meal!

When I got in bed last night my toes touched something furry and I jumped out of my skin! Luckily was just Swampy, Mazen’s frog that he’d brought into bed that morning.

Hope you all are having a great Wednesday so far!!

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4 Smart Food Pairings to Boost Your Health

What you eat is important, but so is how you eat it. Turns out you can pair certain foods together to increase how many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you absorb — and, in some case, to reduce risk of disease. Give these four pairings a try!

 

Broccoli + citrus juice

Squeeze lemon juice onto steamed broccoli, or mix a little orange juice into a sautéed broccoli dish. The vitamin C in the citrus will help your body absorb more of the plant-based (aka non-heme) iron in the spinach. This also works with other sources of plant-based iron, such as broccoli, beans and tofu.

 Recipe to try: Lemon Broccoli (pictured above)

Eggs + veggies

Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse on their own, with one large egg offering 6 grams of high-quality protein,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “Pairing them with veggies like spinach can provide you with even more nutritional gains.” Case in point: A study in The Journal of Nutrition found that adding whole eggs to a raw vegetable salad may help you better absorb vitamin E, a powerful health-promoting antioxidant.

Recipe to try: Skillet Spring Greens Asparagus Frittata (pictured above)

Rice + beans

Foods like eggs, chicken, and beef are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs to create muscle, collagen, and other proteins. Your body can’t make these essential amino acids on its own, so they must come from food sources — otherwise, your body’s cells will take part their own proteins to get the missing amino acids. When a food is missing some essential amino acids, it’s important to pair it with another food containing those amino acids. “Although both rice and beans are healthy choices, separately they do not provide all the amino acids you need,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. “However, once you pair them together, the amino acids found in rice complements those found in beans, making the combination a high-quality protein.”

Recipe to try: Rice and Bean Salad (pictured above)

 

Grilled meat + rosemary

“Grilling meat can create carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs),” say Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT, co-authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. “Adding spices like rosemary to the meat, as well as marinating it first, may cut the HCAs by as much as 70 percent.” Marinating meat can prevent formation of the carcinogens, and the antioxidants in rosemary are thought to have a HCA-reducing effect.

Recipe to try: Red Wine-Rosemary Grilled Flank Steak

 

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. She’s a regular contributor to many publications, including ReadersDigest.com, Shape.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Dr. Oz the Good Life, Runner’s World, and more—as well as WeightWatchers.com, where she was a longtime editor. She also pens a recipe-focused blog, Amy’s Eat List.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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