Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To Tofu- Recipe Redux + A Cookbook Giveaway

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

What do chicken nuggets, hotdogs, pizza, and fishsticks have in common?

They are all on the list of typical foods parents feed their kids.  I blame convenience- what's easier than taking something out of the freezer and popping it into the microwave?  Also, they're fun for kids because they're bite size or come in cool shapes.  I'm always trying to think of more healthy options that are still fun and convenient.  I believe food should be fun AND wholesome.  In fact, playing with food (to an extent) is part of healthy child development.  Once infants start on table food, it's important to let them explore it using all their senses, especially touch.  I've held this stance since my daughter Lyla started on table-food and she has become a great eater.

Lyla enjoying her Tofu Stick
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and RecipeRedux has teamed up with The Soyfoods Council to inspire family, friends and readers to add more soyfoods to their diet, specifically tofu.  There is an extensive body of evidence suggesting soy reduces the risk of breast cancer.  However, studies show that to receive the most optimal benefits in reducing the risk of breast cancer, soyfoods must be consumed starting in adolescence.  

If you're already feeding your kids tofu- keep it up!  If this is new territory for you, then I'm here to today to present you with a kid-friendly Tofu recipe.

Crunchy Baked Tofu Sticks
Yields: 14 sticks

1 brick extra-firm Tofu
¼ canola oil
1 c crisp rice cereal
2 T nutritional yeast
¼ c cornflake crumbs
Dash of paprika, pepper, cayenne powders

1.     Preheat oven to 375 F
2.     To slice tofu into 14 equal sticks, slice lengthwise once, then height wise 6 times
3.     Combine dry ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times to break down the crisped rice cereal.  Transfer to a shallow bowl
4.     Pour oil into a different bowl.  Dip tofu sticks into oil, then roll around in crumbs until well coated
5.     Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 min.  Then flip over and bake for 10 more min.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vacation Smoothie

This month's Recipe Redux Challenge is "Memorable Vacation Meals."  Since I keep kosher, most of my favorite meal memories aren't from vacations, especially if we were visiting a place without a Jewish community.  Growing up, I remember eating a lot of tuna and PB&J, none of which are blog-worthy.  I definitely had some great meals on vacation with my husband but none too easy to "redux" or make healthy (think steak and nachos).

I've spent a good amount of time in Israel: vacationing and studying post-High School for a year.  Since kosher food is readily available in Israel, I decided to write about my favorite juicebar called Juiceland.  A Juiceland smoothie is one of the simple joys of my life.  It doesn't have protein or power "boosts" like most of the juicebars in America.  It's simply frozen fruit, milk or OJ, and some mystery white powder they throw in (sugar?).  I would always choose peaches and pears: such a great combo!  Here is my recreation of the Juiceland smoothie.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blue Corn Chip Crusted Cauliflower Gratin + a GIVEAWAY

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, Frito Lay is sponsoring a recipe contest for Recipe Redux members where we have to create gluten-free recipes that use at least one of their snack chips as a replacement for traditional gluten-containing ingredients.  Gluten free foods can't contain barley, rye, or wheat.  There are many alternative grains and flours on the market making it easier for people with Celiac disease to expand their palettes.  Some popular gluten free flours are corn, tapioca, rice, arrowroot, and amaranth.  Frito Lay is working hard to implement a gluten-free validation process in order to meet FDA standards.

The Reduxers were given a list of approved chips to use in our gluten free recipes.  I chose TOSTITOS® SIMPLY NATURAL™ Blue Corn Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips since they have a gorgeous hue and I love adding color to my dishes.  I crumbled them onto a healthy cauliflower broccoli gratin for a satisfying veggie-filled dinner.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shavuot +Frittata Muffins

Shavuot is coming up this weekend and with it comes some serious eats.  This Jewish holiday celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.  It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot for multiple reasons, making it one of my favorite holidays.  When else do I have an excuse to keep cheesecake in the house??  But don't forget to practice moderation and try to double up on veggies instead of lasagna.  

We were lucky enough to be able to share some of the holiday meals with our friends, one of which I'm co-hosting with my friend Yoni.  We decided on a Mexican theme and had a lot of fun brainstorming the menu.  One dish that I knew would make the cut were my Frittata Muffins.  I stumbled upon a recipe for egg muffins back in February on Cooking Healthy For Me and immediately adapted it to my tastes.  I swapped spinach for broccoli, cut out the bacon, and added crumbled goat cheese to really make these my own.  These muffins are packed with nutrition and good flavor.  They make an excellent breakfast on-the-go or a tasty side dish.  And because they're muffins, they're already portion controlled.  1 serving = 2 muffins.

Broccoli Cheese Frittata Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins

1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 c frozen chopped broccoli
6 eggs
1 T milk
½ t salt
½ t pepper
½ c buttermilk baking mix
5 oz goat cheese

1.    Grease a 12 cup muffin tin
2.    Preheat oven to 350 F
3.    Sauté the onion and garlic in EVOO until translucent
4.    Add broccoli and cook until soft
5.    In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, and buttermilk mix together.
6.    Add the broccoli onion mixture to the bowl and stir to combine
7.    Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins until ¾ full
8.    Make more muffins if there’s extra batter
9.    Crumble a little goat cheese on each muffin
10. Bake around 25 minutes or until lightly browned

Feel free to swap in your favorite veggies or cheese if you don't have a preference for mine! What healthy dishes will you be making this Shavuot?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fish and Mercury

There is no denying that fish is part of a heart healthy diet.  It's a good source of protein, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and packed with B vitamins.  But with all the information out there about mercury in fish, a contaminant which in excess may affect brain development and the nervous system, which fish are the safest to eat?   Luckily, the content of mercury in all types of fish has been researched and documented on the FDA's website.  Here is a list of the more popular fish- for a more extensive list, visit the FDA.
I broke it down into highest to lowest mercury content.
  • HIGHEST: Avoid
  • HIGH: Three 6 oz servings per month
  • LOWER: Six 6 ounce servings per month
  • LOWEST: Two 6 ounce servings per week

Chilean Sea Bass
Bass (Striped, Black)
King Mackerel
Tuna (canned white)
Tuna (bigeye, Ahi)
Tuna (Yellowfin)



Tuna (canned light)
Salmon (canned, fresh)





I have included kosher and non-kosher seafood in my list for the general public.  I want to thank Josh Leinwand for suggesting this topic.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dill Cornmeal Crusted Asparagus- Recipe Redux

This month's Recipe Redux theme is "The First Shoots of Spring."  The weather is starting to become predictable and Spring is in full bloom.  I love taking walks with Lyla and pointing out the vibrant flowers and different kinds of leaves.  Farmer's markets are featuring the first vegetables of the season including pea shoots, rhubarb, garlic scapes, rams, and asparagus.  Our mission was to use one of these early edible plants in a healthy dish.

This month has been a bit crazy for me with Passover taking over so I have to admit this was a last minute scramble.  I couldn't find any of the unique crops in my usual store so I settled for asparagus- white asparagus to be exact.  Did you know that it's white because it's grown under soil so that it's deprived of sunlight?  This way it can't perform photosynthesis and produce chlorophyll (the thing that makes plants green).  White asparagus is more subtle in flavor and a bit more tender.

White Asparagus
I love a good dill sauce with my asparagus but since I've already posted a recipe for asparagus with dill sauce for Thanksgiving, I had to get a bit more creative.  I'm a bug fan of vegetable tempura so I decided to make a cornmeal batter infused with dill for some good color.  I coated my white asparagus in it, sprinkled with some panko, and roasted it up for some yummy goodness.  2 vegetables in 1 and a healthier alternative to tempura which is fried!  These dill dipped asparagus spears are beautiful and fun to make.  Make some for your next dinner party to impress your friends!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Passover Experience + Baby Brezza Giveaway winner

I want to start off by thanking everyone who entered my giveaway sponsored by Baby Brezza.  This was my biggest giveaway by far with the best response!  I hope you all continue to "follow" A Slice of Nutrition even if you didn't win.  And the winner is... Nina C!! The winner has been contacted via e-mail.

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy with Passover prep.  Now that the holiday is in full swing, I feel like I can finally relax!  We were by my parents for the Seders which was very nice.  We got to spend time with my parents, grandparents, and friends and I didn't have to cook!  That's the definition of a win-win.  In the past, my husband and I have moved out for the week of Passover (usually by my in-laws) because it wasn't worth all the work that goes into making a Passover home.  This year, however, we decided to give it a shot.  It's easier for my 19 month old Lyla to sleep in her own bed and I don't have to live out of a suitcase for 8 days (another win-win!).

Besides for the ridiculous amount of cleaning (I started weeks before Passover!), I had to get new pots and pans, dish racks, cover the counters, clean out the fridge, and buy A LOT of paper goods.  I kept remembering things I would need and running to the store.  A lot goes into making Passover so kudos to everyone that does it.

One might think that since you can't eat leavened bread all week long, people might just follow a low carb diet for Passover.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for most.  Kosher for Passover cuisine tends to be heavy in matzah, matzah meal, potato starch, eggs, cheese, and oil.  We take foods that we're not allowed to eat and come up with a comparable replacement i.e. matzah pizza.  When making my menu, I tried to limit the matzah-derived mains.  Last night we had duck sauce chicken, baked potato fries, and roasted asparagus.  Tonight I'm making a crustless mushroom quiche with a side salad.  Keep in mind that you don't have to eat matzah at every meal.  Try to focus more on vegetables, fruit, low fat dairy, and lean meats and you might just avoid the "Passover bloat."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby's First Year of Nutrition + Baby Food Maker Review + GIVEAWAY

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

Lyla @ 1 year enjoying mealtime

Since this blog is about sharing my knowledge based on my experiences and education, I feel obliged to share my experiences as a new mother specifically in providing wholesome nutrition for my daughter.  Lyla, now 18 months old, is a good eater in general.  I don’t know if that can be attributed to nature or nurture but I feel as if I’m doing something right.  On my journey to attaining my RD (Registered Dietitian status), I was exposed to child nutrition and when I worked in the hospital, I covered the Pediatric unit on occasion.  However, it wasn’t until I had my own child and was thrown into a “sink or swim” mentality, that I really got the hang of feeding a child. 

Nursing had its challenges but was an overall success.  I was able to do it for 7 months which seemed like a really long time- maybe next time I’ll attempt the recommended year but I highly doubt that’ll happen.  Yes breastfeeding is an amazing bonding experience, you save a lot of money, and you know you’re baby is getting great nutrition and antibodies, but it has its drawbacks.  It was hard being the only one who could feed my baby plus I didn’t love being ostracized to the nursery or a discrete corner of the room to nurse .  When I returned to work, I found it challenging to keep up with my workload with my two 20 minute pumping breaks.  And if we were lucky to get a baby-free night out, I had to feed her the second before we left and we had three hours max to enjoy ourselves before she needed to eat again.  In short, I felt like a slave to nursing so I traded in my pump for formula at 7 months to get my freedom back.  This is why I highly doubt I’ll be able to nurse for a full year next time.

Lyla @ 5 months trying rice cereal
When Lyla started on solids around 5 months, it was very exciting.  Well, as exciting as rice cereal mixed with breast milk can be.  It wasn’t until she started on pureed fruits and veggies that I really got into it.  I tried all the jarred flavors out there- my favorite brand being Earth’s Best.  They have such creative blends- broccoli zucchini, apple sweet potato, and carrot tomato.  I experimented with homemade blends too using a steamer and my blender.  One time I blended peas, avocado, and ricotta cheese and Lyla loved it!  I tried so hard to expose her to unique blends and added spices to help develop her palette.  I guess it worked because she is not your average toddler in regards to eating.  Some of her favorites are beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, salmon, and all types of cheese.  I was persistent and implemented the “try it 10 times” theory.  Usually, she liked foods the first time but brussels sprouts took a while.  Since they’re my favorite vegetable, she had to like them too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel: Recipe Redux

Maple Butternut Squash Kugel

This month's theme for The Recipe Redux is "Stick with Maple Honey Sweetness" and it's all about using maple or honey to naturally sweeten your foods.  One of the first things I look for on the nutrition facts label is Total Sugars.  The second thing I check is the ingredients for the source of sugars.  Companies try to make their products sounds healthier by putting things like rice syrup, maltodextrin, and barley malt in the ingredients.  These are just different names for sugar and too much of it will make your waist size grow.  Click here for more names of sugar.  For more info on artificial sweeteners, visit here.  

Honey and maple syrup, as long as they're the good quality stuff, are natural sweeteners.  Pancake syrup is mostly high fructose corn syrup and is the farthest thing from a natural sweetener.  Here's a comparison of calories per Tablespoon:
Calories (Per Tbsp)
Table Sugar
Maple Syrup

Since honey and maple are naturally sweeter than table sugar, you need to use less of them in a recipe.  While sugar only contains calories, honey and maple also have a small amount of nutrients.  I more often use honey as a sugar substitute so I decided to try maple for a change.  I also felt that the maple flavors would better compliment the squash dish than honey.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

National Nutrition Month + Homemade Veggie Pizza

March is here and that means it's National Nutrition Month.  This year's theme is "Get Your Plate in Shape" and focuses on the importance of making healthy, informed food choices while practicing good eating and physical activity habits.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic's website has some amazing resources for nutrition month.  Check out their salad bar and smart snacking guides.

To me, "Get Your Plate in Shape" is all about balancing your diet to include all the healthy food groups.  You want to see more vegetables on your plate and less greasy foods.  It's crucial to get enough whole grains and low fat dairy products in your diet too.  My husband and I sit down every Sunday, plan our weekly menu, and hit the supermarket to make sure we have all the ingredients on hand.  I find it much more efficient to go to the store with a shopping list versus wandering the aisles and hoping a week's worth of meals pop into my head.  And yes, there are weeks where we don't have time to plan ahead so we usually wind up eating more convenience foods than I would like.  You don't have to be perfect,  just give it your best shot.

Plus, menu planning doesn't have to be exact.  To make it quick, only write down the main ingredients i.e. chicken, rice, and broccoli.  You can figure out the culinary details once you have those ingredients.  The biggest obstacle is having the right foods on hand. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mushroom Nutrition + Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup

Lately, there's been a large emphasis on functional foods in the media.  Dietitians are preaching "Eat the Rainbow," meaning one should incorporate fruits and vegetables of all colors into the diet in order to diverse antioxidant consumption.  This article goes out to the white produce who is too often overlooked.  Don't discount onions, garlic, cauliflower, parsnips, and mushrooms- they might not be colorful but are great sources of nutrients!
For more on white produce, check out this informative video by Jill Weisenberger, RD.

Let's focus on mushrooms for a bit.  Technically a fungus, mushrooms provide many of the nutritional benefits of produce and also have attributes in common with meat.  This makes them extremely versatile in recipes.  Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked into a favorite dish.  They make a great beef substitute because of their "meaty" texture.  Mushrooms are low in calories and sodium, fat-free, and are rich in selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Curry Chicken + Brown Rice Pilaf - Recipe Redux

I have been a fan of Pinterest for a couple months now.  It's a great place to pin all the great recipes I stumble upon to make at a later date.  However, once February hit, my Pinterest homepage was flooded with indulgent chocolate recipes in honor of Valentine's Day.  Decadent heart shaped cookies and cakes, chocolate pancakes and waffles, and a rainbow fruit smothered in caramel and chocolate.  I get it- chocolate is a must during February (and year round in my opinion) but isn't there room for cocoa without all the added sugar?  This is why this month's Recipe Redux theme, "Chocolate love is in the Air" is quite appropo.  I decided to incorporate chocolate into an already healthy recipe in order to bump up the nutrition even more.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Eat.Think.Smile Giveaway winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and to Eat.Think.Smile for providing the prize package!  My readers mean a lot to me which is the reason I love hosting giveaways.  And the winners are...
Dawn H
Tim L
Jill S
Chani W

I will be contacting each of you with more details.  Congrats!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eat.Think.Smile Review + GIVEAWAY

 ~~~~~~~~THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED~~~~~~~~

I am thrilled to introduce my new favorite snack.  Eat.Think.Smile, a subsidiary of Hershey, is an absolutely delicious line of cocoa-based snacks.  Some of their great products include Chewy Granola Bars, Baked Nutrition Bars, Granola Clusters, and Crispy Thins- each in a variety of flavors.  All the snacks use non-alkalized cocoa leaving the antioxidants intact.  For more info on cocoa, check out this post.  Fun fact: each serving of Eat.Think.Smile's snacks delivers more antioxidant power than a cup of green tea!   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly Macarons

Before I begin the story of my culinary journey, I have to disclose that this is not a healthy recipe.  Yes, this is a nutrition blog, but it's also a place for me to explore the beauty of food and recipe development.  It's ok to indulge once in a while but everything in moderation!

I had never made macarons (pronounced Macaroni, without the I sound) before this experiment.  I had never even tasted a macaron.  The closest I had come to one was on the other side of a bakery window.  Macarons are known for two things: coming in pretty pastel colors and being made out of almonds.  I love the way they look but don't care for baked goods with almond flavor so that's why I've never tried one.

When I found about First on the First, a blog hop started by Kate @ Food Babbles and Carrie @ Poet in the Pantry, I was excited to get on board.  First on the First attempts a cooking or baking feat that is new to you and shares the results with the world.  February's theme is macarons and I really wanted to be a part of it but I knew I'd have to make some adjustments to these traditionally almond flavored cookies to make them my own.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Berry Yogurt Muffins

I was doing my usual blog browsing last week and stumbled upon a recipe for Blueberry Muffins from The Brown Eyed Baker.  Well, I didn’t have a hankering for muffins before I saw this recipe and the mouth-watering pics but I certainly developed a craving afterwards!  It just so happened that I had some berries in the fridge (gotta love superfoods) that were on their last legs (still edible, just not amazing on their own).  Yup, this was happening.

I enjoy baking but it’s not something I do on a regular basis.  It’s challenging enough coming up with the ideas and finding the time to make dinners- who has the energy to bake?  Luckily, I had some spare time so I decided to take advantage of that.  When I get around to baking, since it’s not so often, I usually stick to the recipe and employ the “everything in moderation” rule.  In general, I abstain from sugar cookies because I have a hard time being directly responsible for 2 sticks of butter going into one dessert.  This muffin recipe was relatively healthy as far as desserts go but I felt there was still room for improvement. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shakshuka Breakfast Burrito: Recipe Redux

Traditionally, shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in an aromatic spicy tomato sauce.  I had the privilege of trying shakshuka for the first time last year at my good friends Mordy and Tiffany.  Before then, I didn’t know much about it and never bothered trying it.  Oh my goodness!  I was seriously missing out and now I have to make up for all these shakshuka-less years.  Tomatoes and eggs are really great together.  The acidity of the tomato plus the savory poached eggs all mixed together with aromatic spices is divine.  No wonder Shakshuka in Hebrew means “All mixed up.” 

For January’s Recipe Redux, the theme is “Fresh Starts” and there’s no better way to start off the day than with a healthy breakfast makeover.  When I think of calorie and fat-laden breakfasts, my mind goes straight to breakfast burritos.  Usually filled with hash browns, cheese, and eggs, the breakfast burrito can definitely use a face-lift. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gnu Bar Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...Jennifer H. - Check your inbox for more details!  Thank you to everyone who entered.  I really appreciate all of your support.  Look forward to my next giveaway sometime next month.  There will be FOUR winners next time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gnu bar review + Giveaway!


My friends over at Gnu foods have sent me a sampler box = 14 bars with 7 flavor varieties!  After trying a tiny nibble from each, I decided to share the rest.  Keep reading to find out how you can score your own variety pack of 7 gnu bars!

Gnu bars are known for combining "flavor and fiber at last" and I couldn't agree more.  With 7 different flavors to choose from, you're bound to fall in love with several of the flavors.  My favorite is peanut butter.  It tastes just like a chewy peanut butter granola bar- yum!  The other flavors are banana walnut, chocolate brownie, cinnamon raisin, espresso chip, lemon ginger, and orange cranberry (second place favorite).

Monday, January 9, 2012

All About Fiber

Fiber is important in a balanced diet because it helps keep us “regular”, may help prevent certain diseases (Diabetes, Heart, Cancer), and can aid in weight management by keeping us full longer.  For individuals with gastrointestinal issues (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Diverticulitis), fiber can help prevent flare-ups and control undesirable symptoms. 

Adults need a lot more fiber a day than most are getting.  Here are some guidelines:
  • Men, 50 years old and younger= 38 g/day
  • Men, 51 years old and older=30 g/day
  • Women, 50 years old and younger= 25 g/day
  • Women, 50 years old and older= 21 g/day
The general rule for children aged 3-18 years old is to add “5” to their age in years. For example, a 5 year old needs 10 g/day of fiber.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sports Nutrition: Eating and Exercise (Part 2)

We established in Sports Nutrition Part 1 that healthy living is a 2-sided coin.  Part 1 discussed exercise tips so Part 2 will focus on eating in regards to exercise.  Fueling your body is essential for a successful workout.  When you start exercising, your body pulls energy from the carbs stored in your muscles and liver (glycogen) before it starts breaking down fat stores.  If you want to burn more fat, you have to do endurance exercise like jogging.  Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can exercise for shorter or longer to burn more calories.  

What to eat prior to exercising:
You don’t want to eat immediately before you work out as this can cause cramping or nausea but you definitely want to have a nourished body.  For some morning gym-goers, a drink of water is adequate prior to working out since your body is using stored energy from last night’s dinner anyways.  If you feel very hungry, than definitely eat a small carb-rich snack at least 30 minutes before.  If you exercise later in day, try to eat a large meal 3-4 hours before exercising or a smaller snack 1-2 hours beforehand.  

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