Monday, April 16, 2012

Multitasking Parents

RECALL ALERT: Dole Fresh Vegetables Salads

Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 756 cases of DOLE® Seven Lettuces salad with Use-by Date of April 11, 2012, UPC code 71430 01057 and Product Codes 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B, due to a possible health risk from Salmonella. Dole Fresh Vegetables is coordinating closely with regulatory officials. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Epitome of Junk: Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza!

"This pizza is real; it’s right there on the bottom of Pizza Hut U.K.’s delivery menu. And it isn’t a pizza crust with hot dog seasoning, or with diced hot dogs mixed in. It’s a regular pizza with a giant hot dog threaded through the crust like elastic through the waistband of society's pants."

Source: Pizza Hut UKmsnbc

25 Super Meals (with Recipes) to Boost Your Mood!

1. Fortified whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and blueberriesFights depression
The cereal’s fortified with vitamin B, which studies have linked to good mental health [1]. Plus recent research suggests people who slurp down vitamin D in a serving of milk don’t just build strong bones — they’re also less likely to get depressed. And those berries may be blue, but they keep us from feeling that way [2]. So get crunching tomorrow morning. Even a soggy bowl says smile!
2. Banana-almond-flax smoothie
Fights depression and stress
Slurp some happiness on the go with a smoothie that does wonders for the mood and the taste buds. The potassium in bananas is a super stress-buster; plus nuts and flaxseed are great sources of omega-3s, which may help fight depression [3].
3. Buckwheat pancakes with sliced banana
Beats stress
Whether they’re for breakfast or dinner, pancakes can almost always brighten up a bad day. And there’s science behind it, too: Buckwheat pancakes pack flavonoids that may help reduce stress (at least in mice). Top the stack with some sliced banana, filled with potassium, another stress-buster!
4. Full-fat Greek yogurt with honey and granola
Fights depression, boosts pleasure
This positivity parfait packs a bunch of happy ingredients: protein from a creamy cupful of Greek yogurt increases levels of pleasure-boosting neurotransmitters, and the yogurt’s probiotics may be a tasty way to fight depression [4]. Honey really is a spoonful of sweetness, with compounds that may fight depression by reducing inflammation in the brain. (Throw on some berries for extra healthy points!)
5. Salmon salad with vinaigrette
Fights depression
When a bad mood hits, try a forkful of fish to feel better. Keep things cheery and green with this salmon salad, chock-full of omega-3-filled ingredients (like salmon and olive oil) that can help prevent symptoms of depression [5] [6]. Swap plain ol’ lettuce for spinach leaves for a bunch of mood-boosting B vitamins.
6. Warm quinoa, spinach, and shitake salad
Fights depression and anxietyQuinoa’s not only an awesome vegan protein source — it’s also a complex carbohydrate that can help prevent depression and anxiety by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. And beyond the B vitamins in spinach, mushrooms are a source of selenium, a compound that may help fight depression [7]. This superfood-packed salad‘s got all the goods!
7. Beet, citrus, and avocado salad
Boosts energy
This colorful concoction brightens up the mood and the dining table. A bowlful of beets helps increase happiness with tons of folate; the vitamin C in citrus fruit recharges the body; and the flavonoids in a squirt of lemon juice benefit the brain. Tell a bad day to beet it!
8. Wild seaweed salad
Fights depression and anxiety
Vegetarians and carnivores alike can enjoy the positive feelings that come from a bowl of this snazzy salad. Seaweed’s a source of iodine, which can help fight depression; brown rice is a complex carb that helps stabilize mood with serotonin; and the omega-3s in EVOO, flavonoids in lemon, and anthocyanins in honey may all boost mood [8].
Main Dishes
9. Poached eggs and asparagus
Fights depression and anxiety
Eggs are a (perhaps surprisingly) good source of vitamin D, which may be important for fighting depression; they also provide mood-boosting vitamin B. And asparagus is filled with tryptophan, which increases levels of serotonin in the brain and helps prevent depression and anxiety [9].
10. Brown rice and black beans
Fights depression and anxietyBeans aren’t just good for the heart — they’re good for the mind, too, since the selenium in them can help reduce inflammation in the brain [10]. Plus brown rice can boost mood by regulating serotonin levels. Try this great recipe for happiness.
11. Almond-crusted barramundi fish
Fights depressionThe name of this meal is fun to say, but that’s not all that’s great about it. Barramundi fish and almonds are excellent sources of omega-3s, which can help reduce depression and anxiety. Serve it with a side of spinach for a dose of B vitamins that also help create a positive mood. (Can’t find barramundi fish in the local grocery store? Try sea bass instead, although it doesn’t have quite as many omega-3s.)
12. Seared lamb chops with anchovies
Fights depression and beats stressGo classier — and happier — than chicken wings and use grass-fed meat in this dinner recipe. Lamb is packed with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound that reduces stress hormones, and anchovies provide depression-fighting omega-3s.
13. Turkey burger with sweet potato fries
Fights depression and anxietyStep up the traditional burger ’n fries with a meal that’s easier on the belly and the brain. The tryptophan in turkey increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Plus sweet potatoes are filled with mood-boosting B vitamins. Fry them in olive oil for some extra omega-3 happiness power!
14. Spaghetti with steamed mussels
Fights depression and anxietyMussels — and most types of shellfish — are loaded with B vitamins, important for a good mood [11] Try this recipe, which features whole-wheat pasta and EVOO. Certain food combinations have a lot to do with mood: A meal that includes carbs, protein, and fat (like this one) can stop a case of the Debby Downers in its tracks. 
15. Whole-wheat pasta with cauliflower and collards
Fights depressionThis vegetarian pasta dish has complex carbs, which help regulate mood, plus a serving of healthy veggies. Pack an extra punch with purple cauliflower — it not only looks cool, it also prevents depression with a hefty dose of B vitamins.
16. Walnut-miso noodles
Fights depression, anxiety, and stressEverything about this dish screams healthy, happy, and delicious. Whole-wheat pasta is a complex carb that increases serotonin levels, and walnuts pack omega-3s that fight depression and anxiety. And chop up some chard for a tasty topping that’s a great source of magnesium, which can improve snooze time and reduce stress levels, especially for ladies [12] [13].
Soups and Stews
17. Chicken soup with vegetables
Boosts alertnessTry a bowlful of the good stuff for the soul and for a smile. Chicken packs the protein that helps us stay alert and ready to tackle the day. And orange you glad vegetables like carrots and squash also improve mood. Loud slurping required.
18. Lentil and vegetable stew with kale
Fights depressionCurl up with a cup of lentil stew on a rainy day to keep things sunny inside. Kale and the little legumes are great sources of folate, important for a good mood [14].
Side Dishes
19. Braised collards with tomatoes
Fights depressionThis picture-perfect side dish features B vitamins and lycopene, which may fight depression by reducing inflammation in the brain [15]. Substitute cherry tomatoes for the whole tomatoes in this recipe, since it’s easier to eat more of the lycopene-packed skin that way.
20. Fresh corn and blue potato hash
Fights depressionDon’t worry, these potatoes aren’t moldy, but they are delicious ways to get happy. Blue potatoes (and their skins) are loaded with anthocyanins and iodine, nutrients that reduce inflammation in the brain and help regulate mood. This creative recipe adds an extra bonus with the mood-boosting B vitamins in spinach.
Snacks and Desserts
21. Trail mix with nuts and dark chocolate
Boosts alertness and beats stressThis crunchy combo is filled with monounsaturated fats that help prevent blood sugar crashes, a major cause of grouchiness. Plus they can increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood (and digestion) [16]. And a smidge of dark chocolate can prevent sluggishness with high levels of theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine. Plus even a few bites of the sweet stuff can reduce levels of sneaky stress hormones.
22. Granola bars with chocolate
Fights depression and anxietyThese homemade treats may look like cookies, but they’re actually nutritious ways to perk up. They’re filled with ingredients that fight depression and anxiety, like the omega-3s in flaxseed and anthocyanins in honey [17]. Even better, dark chocolate’s a stress-buster and oats are a source of soluble fiber that helps prevent mood swings.
23. Chocolate chia seed pudding
Fights depression and anxietyCh-ch-ch-chia! And chocolate! A more nutritious alternative to the standard pudding cup, this recipe’s a double whammy for a good mood. Chia seeds are a source of those depression-and-anxiety-reducing Omega-3s, and dark cocoa powder helps keep bad moods in check.
24. Coffee with cinnamon
Boosts energyThere’s no Red Bull required to make it through a long afternoon. Coffee’s a natural stimulant, brightening a dismal day by boosting energy and metabolism.. A cup o’ Joe may also create feel-good feelings (in humans and in rats) by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin [18]. And a sprinkle of cinnamon’s all it takes to put some more pep in that step. 
25. Green tea and honey
Relieves anger and anxietySip a cup of the green stuff at breakfast, before bedtime, or during a relaxing afternoon break. Green tea’s a great source of theanine, which helps reduce anger and improve concentration. Add a spoonful of honey to reap the benefits of anxiety-reducing anthocyanins [19].

Monday, April 9, 2012

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers...Healthy Comfy Food!

Kids love comfort food. Getting healthier versions of them is a great occasional treat. Check out this awesome recipe!

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers
Servings: 4 Servings

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 pound chicken tenders

  • Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
  • Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. With the motor running, drizzle in oil; process until combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and turn to coat. Transfer each tender to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.
Source: EatingWell

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Indulgence

Raw Banana Chocolate Pudding (1-minute Nutrient Power!)

Seriously, this is the best, healthiest, easiest, quickiest and richest chocolate banana pudding ever! Loaded with nutrients, since all ingredients are raw and powerful antioxidants. The whole family will love it!

Raw Banana Chocolate Pudding
Servings: 1 portion
  • 1 banana (it should be very ripe)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (dark, without sugar)
In a bowl, mash the banana really well using a fork. Add the cocoa powder, mix it well. Voila! It's ready to eat...velvety and delicious!

Toddler's ID

I can't recommend enough any form of ID for toddlers. A simple tag with your phone number can do it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Salmonella in Sushi affects 9 States in the US

Government health officials are investigating a growing outbreak of salmonella food poisoning possibly tied to restaurant sushi that may have sickened at least 90 people in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
The outbreak of salmonella Bareilly that may have sent seven people to the hospital is mostly clustered on the eastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast, although cases have been reported as far west as Missouri and Texas, according to an internal Food and Drug Administration memo. No deaths have been reported.
The federal agencies are focusing on six restaurant clusters in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland and Connecticut, according to the FDA memo.
Salmonella Bareilly is a strain sometimes associated with bean sprouts. Salmonella infections can cause nausea, vomiting, cramping, fever, chills and headache. Symptoms usually last four to seven days.

Monday, April 2, 2012

5 Great Ways to Incorporate Spinach into your Diet

Spinach is very rich in vitamins A, C, iron and calcium. Trying to incorporate it into our meals is always a good idea. I came across these 5 delicious ways to use spinach, from Amie Valpone. Check them out!

"Spinach Juice
What better way to wake up in the morning than to a freshly squeezed juice with fresh spinach. One health benefit of spinach is that it's high in fiber and pairs perfectly with fresh pears and carrot for a juice.
The 11 o'clock rumble, is the name my clients anoint to the noise their stomachs make everyday at 11 a.m.; it that time after breakfast but right before lunch when we're ready for a little something to nibble on. We've all had this feeling, the feeling that maybe you didn't have enough breakfast, but that it's too early for lunch.
Fresh baby spinach works as a great base in any salad. By combining your favorite veggies and grains over a bed of spinach, you can enjoy a delicious meal while treating your body to a healthy serving of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant found in each bite of spinach.
It's so easy to make your own dips and sauces. By making them yourself you get to see exactly what goes in and avoid chemicals found listed in the ingredients of many packaged products.
Making a broth-based soup for dinner will help hydrate you and keep you full. Soups also keep well in the fridge so you can easily make a batch early in the week and enjoy for the next few days.

Be sure to make ¼ of your juice from spinach and toss in your favorite fresh herbs, fruits and other vegetables. It is important to to use a cold press juicer; the pressing action, instead or grinding, will ensure that the fruits and vegetables aren't oxidized, which will help keep the nutrients and enzymes intact.
Try my easy spinach juice recipe by combining 3 carrots, 1 pear, 1 apple, 1 cucumber and 1 cup of spinach in your cold press. This juice takes a few minutes to prepare and will keep you energized and full into your mid-morning snack.
Get creative and experiment with a vast array of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables each time.
Spinach Muffins
At this point, the temptation to scan for a vending machine and bite into something high in sugar, high in saturated fat and low in nutritional value is paramount. Instead, why not reach into your bag, peel back the foil you aptly wrapped around your snack this morning, and have a bite of a fiber-rich spinach muffin.
Spinach muffins can easily be prepared over the weekend and stowed in your handbag during the day; they're the perfect snack to nutritiously carry you through the morning hours.
Try this gluten free muffin recipe by combining 1 cup of organic buckweat flour, ⅓ cup of cornflour, 1 tbsp of gluten free baking powder, 3 eggs, 1 large grated carrot , 1 tsp. ground flax seeds, 1 cup of cooked spinach, 1 cup of Greek plain yogurt, 2 tsp. fresh basil, the juice from one lemon and a pinch of cinnamon. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, while combining all wet ingredients in another. Whisk the eggs with the yogurt before combining dry ingredients. Place the mixture in a muffin tin, bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F and enjoy. Just be sure to keep your muffins to one per day- you don't want to overdo it.
Spinach Salad
Here is a quick and easy recipe for one of my favorite spinach salads. Feel free to adapt it however you like; I seem to change it every time depending on what veggies I find in my fridge.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 1 large diced tomato, ½ a chopped small red onion, ½ fresh avocado and 1 segmented fresh grapefruit. Add to that 2 cups of blanched broccoli, 1 cup of blanched snow peas and ½ a cup of cooked quinoa. Finish it off with a handful of protein rich almonds and season with the juice of one lemon, sea salt and pepper.
Green Tea Spinach Pesto
Spinach pesto is an easy sauce to make and is quite versatile. It can be enjoyed as the centerpiece to crudités of carrots and zucchini, the sauce to your favorite pasta dish, spread on crackers with some hummus, or tossed into an omelet with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms.
For this hummus recipe, all you need is 5 minutes and a blender. In a blender, combine 2 cups of baby spinach and 1 cup of basil leaves with half a cup of green brewed tea and blend, add more tea as necessary. Once leaves are blended into a paste, add ½ cup of cashews and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; pulse until smooth and serve.
This pesto will keep well in the freezer, so place half in an airtight container in the freezer and look forward to a tasty nourishing treat for crackers, toast, salads or veggies in the weeks to come.
Spinach and Mushroom Soup
To make this mouth watering soup, sauté 1 cup of chopped shallots, 1 chopped leek, 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and 2 diced long red chilies in olive oil. Once ingredients have softened, add 1 cup of low sodium vegetable broth, 3 cups of water, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of diced chicken or tofu and 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.
As soon as the soup begins to boil take it off the heat, season with Tamari sauce and serve. Be careful not to leave the soup on the heat for too long because the last thing you would want is for all the nutrients from those yummy ingredients to evaporate.
So there you have it; five of my favorite ways to use spinach in everyday simple, clean cooking. Go ahead, whip up one of these spinach recipes for your spring week ahead."
Follow Amie Valpone on Twitter:

Dalai's Message