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Friday, February 26, 2010

No Knead Bread!

Finally, an easy bread to make. I found this recipe on Mark Bittman's blog. The recipe is actually from Jim Lahey(of the Sullivan Street Bakery). The idea is to make a simple loaf of bread without having to knead it. Time does all the work here. Basically you make the dough and let it sit for about 18 hours(this one sat for 24 hours). It then gets baked in a dutch oven and that's it! The first time I tried it however I didn't activate the yeast and low and behold the bread didn't rise much. This is my second attempt and it came out pretty good. Here's the link to the recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Greek Yogurt and Fruit

Wow, here's a great idea for a snack or even for breakfast. A dietitian recently made me aware of Greek yogurt. Higher in protein and lower in calories, Greek yogurt has a slightly thicker consistency than regular yogurt. Mix in some fresh or frozen fruit and/or granola and you've got a great snack or breakfast.

Frozen fruit is another great idea that I learned last week. When blueberries and strawberries are expensive in the winter(and let's be honest, they are not as good as they are in the summer), you can always pick up some packages of frozen berries. They are great on cereal, in yogurt or like a mini popsicle right out of the freezer!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Salt: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It!!

Sodium is vital to bodily functions. It is needed in fluid balance and to generate tiny electrical currents that control muscles, nerves and heart rhythms; but too much salt can also be dangerous. Excessive sodium intake has been shown to increase both blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. So how much is too much?

The FDA recommends a daily allowance of sodium at 2400 milligrams(mg) which is just a bit more than a teaspoon. On average, most Americans consume between 3100 and 4700 mg per day!! The majority of salt in the American diet comes from processed foods or eating out. Some examples:
McDonald’s small hamburger 530mg
Quarter pounder with cheese 1190mg
Big Mac 1040mg
Large Fries 350mg
Pizza Hut Personal
6 inch pepperoni pizza 1760mg

Subway Cold cut 6 inch sub 1590mg
One ounce bag potato chips 180mg
One ounce bag pretzels 580mg

Vegetables high in sodium include:
celery per half cup raw 50mg
spinach per half cup cooked 65mg

Don’t be fooled into thinking only casual fast food restaurants put a lot of salt in food. Many upscale restaurants also put a lot of salt in their food. This information is easily available on the internet and I urge you to Google search the entrees at some of your favorite chain restaurants. You will be quite surprised.

When dining out request less salt in your entrees. When possible, go for herbs and spices rather than the salt shaker. Check labels for sodium content on processed foods.

One thing worth remembering is that salt enhances the taste of food. It is ok to cook with some salt. You can make a pot of soup for 6-8 people and probably put no more than a teaspoon of salt in to enhance the taste adequately. Salt is a very useful ingredient in moderation and completely salt free food is usually very bland. Conversely, your body can adjust to lower quantities of sodium intake. Once you’ve reduced your intake to a safe level, you’ll find many processed foods and restaurant meals to be too salty.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dietary Sodium

Here's a great article from Jane Brody of the NY Times on dietary salt in this country. See my next post for more information.