Thursday, July 28, 2011

Basil Lemon'itos

This refreshing summer drink comes from the blog of my girlfriend Robin who just welcomed her baby girl into this world, Bella! She introduced me to these fabulous thirst quenchers last summer while laying poolside (what better setting.)

Find the recipe at Indulge

Until next time...

look good, feel good, do good

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Plate - Make it Your Own

This is USDA's MyPlate, which replaces MyPyramid. By now, if you haven't heard about the change you must be living under a rock. The plate method is nothing new to myself and other dietitians so we are excited, for the most part, to see the change. There are a few things that could be clarified, one of those being personlization. Therefore, when I ran across this article "How to Make MyPlare You Own," I knew I had to share.
How to Make MyPlate Your Own
By Hana A. Feeney, MS, RD, CSSD
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has replaced MyPyramid with MyPlate ( This plate was designed to simplify complex nutrition messages and provide the general public with a basic idea of how to improve their daily food choices by presenting food groups on a plate.
USDA's MyPlate
As seen above, "Vegetables" refers to all vegetables and legumes including beans and lentils; "Fruit" includes all fruits; "Grains" includes intact grains like oatmeal or brown rice and grain products such as breads, pasta and crackers; "Protein" includes fish, chicken, meat, legumes, nuts, and eggs; "Dairy" includes milk, yogurt and cheese.
Dietitians have been using plates for years to portray balanced food choices for clients. However, dietitians are able to personalize a plate for an individual to fit their clients’ lifestyle. What if you are in a heavy training phase or trying to lose weight? What if you have diabetes or prefer a vegetarian diet? How would that change the balance of foods on YOUR plate? How would your lifestyle and health concerns impact your food choices?
While this article isn’t the same as a personal consultation, here are some general plates that I recommend for different groups of people, starting with some changes that I’d make to MyPlate for all of us.

A Better Way to Categorize Foods
The USDA’s “Vegetables” group needs reorganization.
The USDA has grouped all vegetables, including starchy vegetables, beans and lentils, into one group. While this may simplify things a bit, it's not nutritionally appropriate. The “vegetables” group should be non-starchy vegetables only. This would include lettuce, greens, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, etc., all vegetables except starchy vegetables and beans and lentils. Starchy vegetables, including all varieties of potatoes, winter squash, and corn, along with all beans and lentils should move over to the “Grains” side of the plate.

Let “Fruit” accompany your meal and expand the Non-Starchy Vegetable section.
Filling only a quarter of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, as pictured by the USDA, will leave you short on ever-important fiber and antioxidants. Fill half of your plate with tasty, crunchy and colorful non-starchy veggies and add fruit to your meal as a side or a dessert.

Grains should be “Whole Grains”.
The USDA recommends that half our grains be whole. However, this advice leaves us eating a significant amount of empty calories in refined grain breads, pastas, crackers and cereals. An emphasis on making all grains choices whole is more appropriate and certainly doable for most of us. These 100 percent whole grain foods are widely available and their tastes and textures have greatly improved during the past five years. This whole grain reference includes all 100 percent whole grain breads, crackers and pastas, and even better choices, intact whole grains, such as old-fashioned oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth.

Get rid of the dairy group and consider those foods a part of the “Protein” category.
We don't need dairy foods with every meal as the USDA suggests. We can get the nutrients from dairy in a variety of other foods. Dairy foods provide significant amounts of protein and minerals, and are more appropriately categorized with Proteins.
Therefore, from a nutritionist's perspective speaking from an evidenced base practice, I believe the plates could accommodate specific needs like this:

General MyPlate

Vegetarian or Vegan Plate

You must consider legumes (including whole soy), nuts and seeds and dairy (if included) as your “Protein” category.

Type 2 Diabetes or Insulin Resistance Plate

You should consider milk and yogurt with the other higher carbohydrate foods on the whole grain and starchy veggie side of the plate. Consider milk and yogurt as options with whole grains, beans, lentils and starchy vegetables. Cheese is still a part of the "Protein" group.

High Volume Endurance Training

You need more carbohydrate overall. To accomplish this, reduce the proportion of vegetable and protein foods on your plate and increase whole grains, starchy vegetables and beans and lentils.

Weight Loss

To reduce portion size, choose a slightly smaller plate and eat proportionately more fish, poultry and eggs than whole grains, beans, lentils and starchy vegetables.

Be Flexible
These plates demonstrate how flexible your diet can, and should, be. There is no perfect way of eating and your diet should change as your lifestyle changes. Eating well is all about balancing your nutritional needs to meet your athletic and health goals. Using an image of a plate helps with basic meal planning and understanding the general concepts of balance. For your specific athletic and health goals there is much to learn about your body, your food choices and your nutritional needs in order to reach your personal goals.

New site coming soon!!!!

Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Smoothie Guide

I LOVE smoothies! In the summer I dream about them on my long, hot runs like on Saturday with scorching temps in the high 90s.
Actually, Saturday marked the completion of week two of J and I's NYC marathon training....that's right...I am getting marathon numero 3 under my belt this November. And as I say with each marathon, this will one and then done. Chicago, Boston and NYC....not a bad line up.

Another great post from Appetite for Health:
Guide to making a healthy smoothie
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tall Grass Grocery Coop

Have you heard about the Coop grocery store opening in Valley Junction: Tall Grass Grocery!?

I am soooo excited as I fell in love with my coop in Iowa City: New Pioneer.

Why join or shop at a coop you ask? Check out the site to learn more!

I love the discount from being a member and a convenient, one-stop shop for local and organic produce.

Until next time...

look good, feel good, do good

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summertime Orzo Salad

This is the perfect salad to bring to all your summer picnics. I first published it last summer here: Orzo Salad, but had to let it shine again.
Summertime Orzo Salad

1 pound dry orzo pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, torn, best to buy organic
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 fresh basil leaves, torn, gentle with these as they bruise easily
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, no pine nuts? Try walnuts!
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 & 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved
Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain pasta and spread on a large baking sheet to cool. Transfer cooled orzo to a large serving bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve chilled.
Until next time...
look good, feel good, do good

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Peach-Mustard Pork Chops & Fourth Festivities

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Fourth of July! J, Trey, and I had a fabulous holiday weekend with lots of friends, family, fun and food. Here are the highlights and a delish recipe.
Kelli and Mike invited my parents and us over for a first-class BBQ...

Mom made these adorable flag cupcakes for dessert and Mike was the master chef for the rest

Italian Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Mini Reubens

Iowa Sweet Corn

Italian Grilled Veggies

Look at this spread! The pork chops would have knocked my socks off had I been wearing any.

Peach-Mustard Pork Chops
Adapted from Food Network Get Grilling


4 pork chop (1 1/2 inch thick)

Safflower oil for brushing

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper
For Sauce:
3 T unsalted butter (you could use Land O'Lakes whipped)

2 T minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T cider vinegar
1/4 C Dijon mustard
1/2 C whole-grain mustard
3/4 C peach jam or preserves

1 T bourbon

1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions for chops:
Prepare grill to high heat. Position a drip pan under the grate on the cooler side of the grill. Brush the chops on both sides with salt and pepper and oil. Set aside for 15 minutes. Grill chops over heat until brown on both sides about 4 minutes per side. Move them to the cooler side and brush with sauce. Cook the chops, covered, turning and basting with sauce every 5 minutes, until thermometer inserted into chop reads 140F. Let rest 10 minutes.

Instructions for sauce:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until almost completely reduced and the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 minutes. Whisk in both mustards and jam. Simmer, whisking, until jam melts, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon and salt.
Jordan Creek Dueling Pianos and Fireworks

we met some of our good pals, Jack, Rachel, and their daughter Ella (6 months)

seriously Mom, the ladies love me

my boys :)
Lake Panora

Our new neighbors invited us up to their lakehouse Monday....thanks Chris and Tracy! What a perfect setting for the Fourth of July!
We did all the summer appropriate activities...

watermelon eating in the lawn

our sweet neighbor girls...Stella, Jordan, and Chloe

We enjoyed lots of water activities...

tubing....and crashing

skiing and jet skiing

and of course, fireworks!

Until next time...

look good, feel good, do good

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grilled Basil Chicken

With the holiday weekend upon us, I am sure many of you will be firing up the grill...give this delish and simple marinade a try while oooing and ahhhing over fireworks!
Happy 4th of July!
Grilled Basil Chicken

1 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh chopped basil, reserve a leaf or two for garnish
1 T onion slices
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp whole peppercorns or just fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
chicken breast
Marinade in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Grill and enjoy!

Your Grill Guide to Healthy Summer Eating
from and Shape magazine
Turn Down the Heat
Grilled meat is a source of the carcinogen (cancer-causing compound) heterocyclic amine (HCA), which forms when proteins in meats (including pork, poultry and fish) are exposed to high heat.
When fats and juices drip onto the hot fire, flare-ups can deposit the chemical onto meat surfaces. The good news: You can easily avoid the risk by reducing the heat. Grill meat on glowing embers instead of high flames or lower gas heat from high to medium. Don’t overcook your dish. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature and remove beef, pork or lamb when it reaches 160°F; chicken breasts and hotdogs at 165°-170°F.
Cooked meats should be kept hot (at least 140°F) until served. You can set it to the side of the grill, or in a warm oven (set to 200°F). When you're ready to serve, use a new platter and utensils; the juices from raw meat can contain the bacteria salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.
Marinate it First
A study from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory showed that marinating chicken before grilling it for just 40 minutes with brown sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, mustard and salt cut HCA production by 92 percent.
Plus, marinades make lean cuts of meat much tastier and they’re easy to whip up. All you need is an acid-based liquid—wine, vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes—a little bit of healthy fat (like olive oil) and some seasonings.
Toss in freshly chopped oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary in place of salt to keep the sodium count low. Chopped onion and garlic will also add flavor.
To prevent contamination, marinate meat in a container in the fridge instead of on the countertop.
Sear it
You may think searing, as in "seared tuna," means raw in the middle. Not true: Searing simply means cooking the outside of meat, fish and poultry over very hot heat, and then finishing the cooking by another method. Searing on the grill creates a crisp, flavorful exterior and moist, wonderful interior, locking in flavor without adding fat.
How to:
1. Place chicken on the hottest part of the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the chicken 45 degrees, without flipping, and cook for another 2 minutes (this produces crosshatch grill marks).
2. Flip and repeat on the other side.
3. If the food needs further cooking, move it to a cooler spot on the grill and close the lid. (Very thin pieces of meat, fish and poultry will cook through in searing steps 1 and 2 and may not need further cooking.)
Butterflying and Skewering
Butterflying is a technique that opens up thick pieces of meat, shellfish and poultry so the meat cooks more quickly and evenly, and the shrimp is kept from curling up. Skewering shrimp (or any meat or vegetable) is a timesaver because you won't have to flip each piece individually.
How to:
1. To butterfly, lay a peeled shrimp on its side and, using a sharp knife, make a slice from about 1/4 inch from the tail through the inside curl, almost through to the other side but without cutting the shrimp in half.
2. With your fingers, open the shrimp and flatten it with the palm of your hand so it lies almost flat.
3. Skewer butterflied shrimp sideways, rather than lengthwise, so the skewer runs from one side of the butterfly to the other. When using wooden skewers, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes before using to prevent scorching.
4. Place shrimp on a hot grill for two to three minutes and turn the skewer over. Cook two to three more minutes until shrimp is bright pink and cooked through.
Serve with a Side of Salsa
Don’t just limit yourself to the jarred tomato stuff: salsa can be made from a variety of fruits and vegetables and is a refreshing accompaniment to grilled meats or fish. It also gives you a hefty dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.
One combo that goes equally well with chicken as it does with fish such as salmon or tuna: mangoes, peaches and chilies. Simply chop the ingredients and let them sit refrigerated while you grill. Then serve atop your dish.
Rub in Flavor - check out Penzy's Spices for awesome spices and herbs!
Use dry rubs, mixtures of herbs and spices that usually contain just a hint of sugar, to instantly season beef, pork, poultry or fish without tacking on unwanted fat. Sprinkle the desired combination onto the meat, then use your fingers to gently work the seasonings into the meat surface. Or place the meat in a plastic bag, throw in the rub ingredients and shake to cover. Store-bought rubs may be high in sodium, so mix your own.
Think Veggie
Grilling vegetables concentrates their natural flavors, giving them a richer taste than boiling or steaming would. And because vegetables (and fruit) contain no protein, they don’t form HCAs when grilled.
Beets are one of Schloss's unexpected grill favorites. “Their natural sugar caramelizes during cooking, so they become deliciously sweet.” He suggests using canned beets (simmered) because fresh ones take longer to cook.
Vegetables can be grilled two ways: in foil packets or directly over the flame.
Use the foil method for small, irregularly shaped veggies. Cut-up onions, Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, green beans, snap peas and cherry tomatoes are all good candidates. Place vegetables on a large piece of foil and season with salt and black pepper. Lift the edges and add 1 tablespoon of water. Bring up the sides so they meet and fold them over twice, leaving a little room for steam expansion. Then fold in the ends twice to seal the packet like an envelope. Grill the packet on the hottest part of the grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking to shake up the veggies for even cooking.
Cook larger vegetables directly on the grill. "Larger" veggies include tomato halves, 1/2-inch-thick slices of zucchini, or yellow squash or eggplant slices. Brush vegetables with olive oil (or spray with olive-oil spray), salt and pepper them, then place them on the hottest part of the grill. Grill 4-5 minutes per side, until fork-tender.
You can cook corn directly on the grill without wrapping in foil. To prepare corn, soak ears (with the husks on) in a large bowl or bucket of water for 1 hour. Drain, shake ears to remove excess water and place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. Grill 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool slightly before removing husks.
Fire up the Fruit
Grilling isn't just for meat and vegetables -- fruit works nicely too. A hot grill caramelizes fruit, bringing out its natural sweetness while softening the flesh. Since the flesh is tender, fruit needs only a few minutes per side. In fact, grilled fruit isn't really cooked, just heated. Firm fruits like apples, pears and pineapple are traditionally grilled, but softer fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, mangos and papaya also work well. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite fruits in the recipe that follows.
How to:
1. Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and bananas can be grilled with their skins on. Leaving the skin (or peel) intact helps fruit maintain its structural integrity as it cooks.
2. To cook on direct heat: Halve and core apples and pears; halve and pit peaches, nectarines, mangos and plums; halve and seed papayas lengthwise; halve bananas lengthwise; and cut oranges, tangerines and grapefruit into 1-inch-thick slices.
3. Brush the cut side of all fruits with olive or vegetable oil (the fresh flavor of olive oil pairs beautifully with fruit) or spray with nonstick cooking spray and place directly on hot grill.
4. Grill fruit for 2-3 minutes per side, until tender and golden brown.
Go Fish
Seafood kebobs with beets and potatoes make for one easy summer meal. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes (so they don't burn on the grill). Meanwhile, drain and blot canned beets and canned new potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss beets, potatoes and scallops or shrimp with extra-virgin olive oil and minced garlic. Thread onto skewers alternating scallops or shrimp, beets and potatoes until the skewers are full. Grill for 10 minutes, turning twice. Top with chopped, toasted walnuts, parsley, and feta cheese.
Clams and mussels are excellent on the grill, too. To clean clams and mussels, first scrub them with a stiff brush under cold running water, discarding any shellfish with broken shells. Using sharp scissors, remove the "beard" from mussels (the hairy stuff protruding from one end). Put clams and mussels in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and salt and let stand 1 hour (cornmeal pulls excess sand from inside shells). Drain the shellfish, rinse and drain again. Place the shellfish directly on the hottest part of the grill and cook until shells open, approximately 5-7 minutes (time varies depending on shellfish size).
Great Grilling Tips
1. Before preheating, brush grates with olive oil or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Watch cooking time when using an indoor grill. The Foreman grill works like a waffle iron (food gets cooked from both sides at once), so cut cook times in half.
3. Let food cook for several minutes before flipping. Flip too soon or too often and your food will stick.
4. Spatulas are not for squishing. Pressing food while it cooks forces precious juices out and into the grill.
5. Let meat, fish and poultry rest 5-10 minutes after cooking, before slicing. This allows juices to resettle in the meat.
6. A clean grill = great taste. Residue on the grill grates -- such as burnt pieces of food and blackened sauces -- causes flare-ups, and flare-ups char food. After cooking, brush grates with a metal grill brush to remove debris.
7. Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. Toss any food that's been left out for more than two hours (or one hour if it's left in the car or if the temperature outside is hotter than 90°F).

Until next time...
look good, do good, feel good

new site coming soon...stay tuned!!!!! Have a fun and safe holiday!