bacon

TIP #2 - EATING WELL

Tip 2: Load Up on Fruits & Vegetables

Did you know that only 1 in 4 Americans consumes the recommended 5-9 daily servings of fruit and vegetables?!

Are you in the small percentage?

By increasing your vegetable and fruit intake you drastically cut your risk for heart disease and diabetes and significantly increase your vitamin and mineral intake which offers TONS of health benefits such as better eyesight, improve skin integrity, health bones, strong immune system, and cancer prevention!!!!!

Supplements are great in a pinch, but with summer here there are LOADS of seasonal fruits and vegetables waiting on you to enjoy!!!   What can you do to increase your fruit and vegetable intake today?

I increased my vegetable intake by making a "Farmer's Market Salad" which included fresh summer corn, okra, peas, arugula, and tomatoes!!!!

Bring on the Brussels Sprouts!

As members of the cabbage family, it is easy to see by their cabbage-like appearance.  Typical Brussels sprouts range from 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Brussels sprouts are readily available year-round, but the peak season is from September to mid-February.

A firm sprout, with small bright-green head is indicative of a sweet taste.  When choosing sprouts, look at the size for taste, but also for cooking purposes.  It is important to choose sprouts of similar size so they will cook evenly.

To store the sprouts properly, remove any loose leaves and place the unwashed Brussels sprouts in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  You can expect most sprouts to store for approximately 3-4 days before the flavor begins to turn unpleasant.

To cook sprouts properly, wash each Brussels sprout, pat dry, and trim the stems.  Brussels sprouts should not be cooked for more than about 10 minutes.  Their green color should remain intense.  A drab color is indicative of overcooked sprouts.

Why Eat Brussels Sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer.
  • Brussels sprouts may have a detoxing effect on our bodies due to their content of glucosinolates and sulfur.  Enzymes in our cells required for detox, can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates.
  • Our natural detox system also requires sulfur to run efficiently, which Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide in abundance!
  • Brussels sprouts are powerful dietary source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, and E. Vitamins A and C help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Anti-inflammatory response can result from the Vitamin K content in Brussels sprouts.  Vitamin K (also known as potassium), helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Other important vitamins:
  • Folate- necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron - necessary for maintaining red blood cell count

I tried a new recipe with hesitancy.  My favorite Brussels sprouts are at Ocean’s (www.oceanbirmingham.com) located in the Five Points area of Birmingham, AL.  The recipe I used was titled: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, which I found in the March 2011 edition of Cooking Light. Thank you to one of my awesome clients that brought me the magazine to session (you know who you are!!)

I started the recipe with cooking 4 pieces of Applegate Bacon (nitrite and nitrate free) in a deep dish skillet.

Once the bacon was cooked, I placed onion slices and dried thyme in the same skillet with the bacon drippings.  I allowed the onions to sauté long enough to turn soft and slightly transparent.

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Next, I chopped the Brussels sprouts in half and added to the onion mixture in the skillet, along with 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

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The mixture did not take long to bring to a boil, but once boiling, I placed the lid on the skillet and allowed to cook for approximately 7 minutes.  The recipe was ready to serve!  I plated the Brussels sprouts and sprinkled the fresh cooked bacon to add flavor.

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Although the Brussels sprouts were not exactly like Ocean’s, they most certainly were close!!!  A super easy recipe helped add flavor and variety to my dinner plate.  I get tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’ green vegetables, so I’m pleased to share this simplistic recipe to help you add variety to your dinner plate as well!!  Hope you enjoy as much as my household did!!! I served the Brussels sprouts with boneless, center-cut pork chop topped with black cherry sauce (you can find recipe in an earlier blog!), baked sweet potato, and a slice of rosemary sourdough bread! The total amount of time spent on cooking was approximately 30 minutes!   

Bon Appetite!

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Other Time: 20 minutes Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

3 slices center-cut bacon, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 cups presliced onion 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain.

2. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

(You can find the recipe in the March 2011 Edition of Cooking Light or on the web at www.cookinglight.com)

RECIPE REVIEW - Edamame Succotash

I have missed blogging and staying in touch with my NutriFocus family!  This weekend I celebrated my mom’s birthday so I was unable to get to my computer!  I had a fabulous time sharing this weekend with family and friends!As Monday rolls around, so does my usual schedule, which means it is time for another RECIPE REVIEW!!  This week I chose to try Edamame Succotash because it called for ingredients that I had on hand and wanted to use to save money on groceries.  The recipe required little prep time and very little cooking time which fit my busy Monday schedule.

I made a minor substitution to the recipe but the taste was not compromised on any level.  Since I already had fresh lima beans in the freezer, (thanks Mike’s grandma!!) I simply substituted the lima beans for the edamame beans.  The recipe calls for pork bacon, but you could use turkey bacon as the substitute if you do not eat pork for religious reasons!  This is the major source of flavor for this recipe, so do not stray too far away when searching for a substitute!

Due to fact that I refuse to cook bacon in a skillet b/c I always get “popped”, I called for back-up so Mike joined me in the kitchen to help with cooking the bacon. Normally I would cook the bacon in the oven, but it is important that the bacon is cooked in the skillet so the dish can keep most of the flavor.  But for all other purposes, I recommend cooking bacon in the oven to avoid injury and for easier clean-up!!

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Once the bacon was cooked and removed from the pan, it was simply an act of adding each ingredient one by one.

First addition: Onions

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Second addition: Corn – Since corn is not in season, I used a 10oz package of frozen corn for this recipe. I definitely think fresh corn would really add flavor to this dish, but frozen did the trick for this season!

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Third addition: Lima Beans.  Lima Beans can be a great source of folate, potassium, and iron! These little green beans also pack a super punch with a significant level of fat free, high-quality protein and dietary, cholesterol-lowering fiber which helps keep blood sugar levels stable which is important for individuals with diabetes, hypoglycemia, or insulin resistance. Lima beans are also known to be high in a trace mineral called, molybdenum, which is part of process of detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are preservatives commonly found in prepared foods and if an individual is sensitive to sulfites, they can experience rapid heartbeat and/or headaches.  By increasing your molybdenum stores, you can improve your ability to detox sulfites, therefore, decreasing or preventing side effects.

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Fourth Addition: Spices, Red Bell Pepper, and Plum Tomatoes – Red bell peppers provide this recipe with a significant dose of Vitamin A & C and lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may lower risks for certain types of cancers.

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Final Addition: Bacon Pieces

Succotash
Succotash
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To round out the meal, I added a piece of French baguette with melted havarti cheese! This was simply made by cutting a fourth of the baguette in half, placing approx 1-1 ½ oz havarti cheese, and placing in 425 degree oven for approx. 5 minutes, then broiling for another 2 minutes!  The flavors really complemented each other and really gave it a comfort food feel.  My husband and I both agreed that this recipe is a keeper due to the ease of preparation/cooking, inexpensive cost of ingredients, powerful nutrition stats, and the one of a kind taste that took us by surprise!  It was delicious!

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We both highly recommend all of you trying this recipe and letting us know what you think!

Succotash Meal
Succotash Meal

EDAMAME SUCCOTASH - "Cooking Light" Recipe

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups) Cost per Serving: $2.47

Ingredients

  • 1  slice center-cut bacon
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 2  cups  chopped sweet onion
  • 2  cups  fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1  (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon  sugar
  • 3  plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1  red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  torn basil

Preparation

1. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through bell pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon and basil.