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Top grilled fish and chicken with spicy salsas instead of fat ladden sauces.
Grill or roast packets of vegetables and fish or poultry in foil packets with no added fat.
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Week of April 24, 2005

A recent study showed that people on a high dairy calcium reduced-calorie diet who consumed 3-4 servings of dairy each day lost significantly more weight and abdominal body fat than those people on a low calcium reduced calorie diet or a high calcium supplements reduced calorie diet. The mix of essential nutrients in dairy foods, including calcium and protein, along with calorie reduction, appears to speed up metabolism and improve the body's ability to burn fat.

The best way to get the calcium you need is by eating and drinking foods that naturally contain calcium. Milk and many other dairy products like yogurt are good sources of calcium. On average, yogurt provides between 150 and 400 milligrams of calcium per 6 ounce container. Yogurt is also a way to get your dairy calcium if you are lactose intolerant. Other sources of calcium include almonds, tofu, legumes, and some green leafy vegetables.

Yogurt, Plain, Lot Fat 8 ounces 415 milligrams Calcium
Yogurt, Plain, Whole Milk 8 ounces 275 milligrams Calcium
Skim Milk 1 cup 306 milligrams Calcium
Cottage Cheese, 1% Milk Fat 1 cup 138 milligrams Calcium

An extensive list of the calcium content of foods is available online from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Week of April 17, 2005

Sautéeing Spinach

If you have never had sauteed fresh Spinach, be ready for a flavor treat. Sauteeing is a quick, easy way to prepare this side dish that is an excellent accompaniment to many entrees. To sauté spinach, crush a clove of garlic and add it to nonstick skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until the garlic begins to brown. Add the spinach in small batches and allow to cook down making room for the next batch. Keep sautéeing until all the spinach has been added and wilted to the desired consistency.

If you are not a garlic fan, you can also try adding a variety of flavors to the olive oil prior to adding the spinach, such as lemon zest or hot pepper flakes. The spinach can be topped with toasted pine or lemon juice.

Week of April 10, 2005

The good news about popcorn is it's good for you and not fattening. Popcorn contains protein and vitamin B1. Plain popcorn, hot air popped, has only 25 calories a cup. But if you like your popcorn with a topping or a little more flavor, don't despair. Here are three fast, easy, and low calorie spice and salt seasonings that will put punch, and not pounds, into popcorn. Keep all three on hand for a quick snack.

ONION DILL SALT

1/4 cup coarse salt
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons dried dillweed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Process ingredients in blender at high speed until mixture is very fine in texture, 30 to 45 seconds. Store in shaker.

HERBED SALT

1/4 cup coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves

Process ingredients in blender at high speed until mixture is very fine in texture, 30 to 45 seconds. Store in shaker.

SESAME SALT
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Process ingredients in blender at high speed until mixture is very fine in texture, 30 to 45 seconds. Store in shaker.

Week of April 3, 2005

Did you know that there is a "best way" to soak beans properly before cooking. It's a fact that before beans can really start cooking, they must rehydrate - the purpose of soaking.

There are three methods of soaking beans:

  1. Overnight soak in cold water
  2. Quick-Soak method for one hour
  3. Our preferred Hot-Soak method - for four hours or more. (Blackeyes have different needs - see below).

Beans may cause gas or intestinal discomfort in some, but not all people. Fiber and complex sugars (both of which your body can adjust to with time) are the main culprits. If you suddenly add fiber or roughage to your diet, it will cause gas. When beans are being digested, the complex sugars encounter certain enzymes in the large intestine. These enzymes are unaccustomed to dealing with those sugars in the beans, so they work harder than usual to digest; the result is gas. As you gradually increase your consumption of beans, your system will adjust.

You can also reduce the amount of the undigestible sugars in beans by the hot-soak method listed below. During the hot soak process, many of the undigestible, complex sugars in beans are dissolved into the soak water and go down the drain with the water. Don't be afraid that you are throwing away valuable nutrients. No significant amounts of essential nutrients are lost and the main nutritional protein components are left intact.

Hot-Soak and Quick-Soak Methods: For each pound of dry beans, any variety, add 10 cups hot water. Beans will rehydrate to at least twice their dry size, so be sure to start with a large pot. (Note: Up to 2 teaspoons of salt per pound of beans may be added to help the beans absorb water more evenly.) Heat to boiling, let boil two to three minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour (Quick-Soak Method), but preferably four hours or more (Hot-Soak Method). The longer soak time is recommended to allow more sugars to dissolve, thus helping the beans to be more easily digested. Whether you soak the beans for an hour or several hours, discard the soak water.

Blackeye "Hot Wash" Method: Blackeyes are a little different. The above soaking/cooking method is applicable for most of the beans mentioned in this book. However, recent experimentation has shown there is a better way for cooking blackeyes.

Rather than soaking blackeyes, we recommend a "hot wash". Cover the beans with sufficient water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Discard water and cook in beef, chicken or vegetable broth. If your recipe calls for other ingredients, add them to the broth and beans mixture just as if you were cooking with plain water. Cooking time is about 45 minutes. Try it. Even long term blackeye fans might prefer this cooking method.

For plain boiled beans, place the soaked drained beans into a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with 6 cups of fresh hot water for each pound of beans, this is usually about one inch above the beans. If desired, add 1 tablespoons oilto prevent boiling over and 2 teaspoons salt and other seasonings. Boil gently with lid tiltedor without lid (this stops foaming) until tender when tasted. Add hot water as needed to keep beans just covered with liquid. If ham or other salty meat is cooked with the beans, make sure to reduce salt to taste, when recipe is almost done.

Test frequently during cooking, then come to your own decision when beans are tender and taste "done."


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