Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Healthy Guide To Good Nutrition

Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in? The answer, I suggest, is no! Overall body health improvement as well as weight gain or loss must be factored in to the equation or you could be heading for problems. Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a miriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of some food and beverage items, and counting calories. Good diets offer balanced nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight control.

To function properly, your body must have the correct combination of nutrients:

Carbohydrates. They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later. Too much glucose, however, is stored as fat. There are two types of carbohydrates - simple and complex. Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Starches and fibers are complex carbohydrates.

Proteins. Proteins help your body build and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones. Like carbohydrates, excess protein is stored as fat.

Animal and vegetable are the two major types of proteins. Too much animal protein can cause high cholesterol, as it is high in saturated fat.

Fat. Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.

Vitamins. These are also required nutrients. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform. It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.

For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of coronary artery disease by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls. Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function. Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth. Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.

Minerals and trace elements. These are another nutrient your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices. Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount. Salt is one final nutrient your body requires. You should not consume more than 2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.

You should follow several guidelines to create a well balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume two and one half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good rough guide is to eat as many different colors as possible, this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.

You should eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based. Milk should also be part of a healthy diet. Consume at least forty-eight ounces of low fat milk or milk products on a daily basis. Your total fat intake should only be between ten and thirty percent of your calories. Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can do much to damage your health. Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products should all be lean, low-fat, or fat-free. Less than ten percent of your calories should come from saturated fats, and you should always try to avoid trans-fatty acid.

Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium rich foods. Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.

Excellent nutrition is the basis of a healthy diet.

About the Author:Edwina Hanson is a vegetarian. You can get her free 127 page cookbook entitled "Delectable Vegetable Dishes", which contains over 300 nutritional and tasty recipes, by going to
Read more articles by: Karen Wilkinson
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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Garden Patch Soup Recipe

Every year as summer draws to a close I find myself looking ahead to heating up the kitchen and filling the house with the wonderful aromas of hearty soups and stews.

It is enjoyable to change our meal planning from lighter summer menus to traditional autumn foods. Eating seasonally means enjoying certain foods when they are at their ripest and freshest. Autumn is the height of harvest time for many fruits and vegetables.

At the end of summer, the gardens are loaded with ingredients for creating tasty, one-pot meals such as Garden Patch Soup.

This soup is full of nutritious and flavorful vegetables. It has been a restaurant customer favorite soup for well over twenty years. That's right. For over 20 years my restaurant customers have counted on this soup being featured every fall. The restaurant never quits serving customers favorite recipes.

The soup recipe calls for beef, but you can use chicken or pork or you can leave out the meat altogether, adding more beans and veggies. Left-over chili can be substituted for the beans.

So as you can see, this soup recipe is wonderfully flexible. The recipe has as many variations as there are cooks but regardless of how you choose to tweak the recipe, it will be delicious.

The soup you make from this successful restaurant recipe will keep you and your family warm, healthy, full, happy and thankful for the Fall bounty as the weather turns cool.

Enjoy your restaurant soup recipe and the company of those you share it with!

Garden Patch Soup Preparation time: 30 minutes. Serves 8-10.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water
2 1/2 tablespoons Au jus seasoning mix (or to taste)
2 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
2 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
14 ounce can of tomatoes, chopped
7 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces whole kernel corn or 8 ounce can with liquid 3 cups of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, peppers, celery or whatever you like and have available)
1/3 head cabbage (1 1/2 cups), coarsely chopped
8 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or left-over chili)


Heat water to boiling in a soup pot.

While water is heating, brown the ground beef and onion in a skillet.

When water comes to a boil, add all the seasonings, tomato, tomato sauce, corn with liquid, beans and your vegetable choice.

Drain meat mixture and add the meat to the soup pot.

Bring back to a boil and simmer until vegetables are crisp tender.

Add the cabbage and remove the soup from the heat.

Let sit for a few minutes to cook the cabbage.

Correct the seasoning

Enjoy your soup and the great fall season.

Donna Hager has owned and operated a restaurant for over two decades. Hundreds of real restaurant recipes can be found on her website that also features menu ideas, cooking tips, and much more at Real Restaurant Recipes Visit More Great Soup Recipes from her restaurant kitchen and her Fall Menu Recipes Page
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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pork Medallions with Five-Spice Powder Recipe

Pork Medallions Pork Medallions

If your market doesn't carry five-spice powder, make your own by stirring together 1/2 teaspoon each crushed fennel seed or star anise, freshly ground pepper, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and ground ginger.



For the marinade
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon green (spring) onion, including tender green top, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water, plus 1 to 3 tablespoons as needed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley


To make the marinade, combine the soy sauce, green onion, garlic, olive oil and five-spice powder in a shallow baking dish. Whisk to blend. Add the pork and turn once to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, turning the pork occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. In a large, ovenproof frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup water to the pan.

Transfer the hot pan to the oven and roast until the pork is slightly pink inside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 F. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the pan over medium-high heat. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add the yellow onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and 1 tablespoon of the remaining water. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the cabbage is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional water, if needed.

Slice the pork tenderloin into 8 medallions. Divide the medallions and the wilted cabbage among individual plates and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis(per serving)

Calories : 237
Cholesterol : 74 mg
Protein : 26 g
Sodium : 372 mg
Carbohydrate : 7 g
Fiber : 2 g
Total fat : 11 g
Potassium : 653 mg
Saturated fat : 2 g
Calcium : 54 mg
Monounsaturated fat : 7 g

Pork Medallions with Five-Spice Powder Recipe by mayoclinic

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Smoking, Barbecuing, Grilling - What is the difference?

A lot of people don't understand the difference between smoking, barbecuing, and grilling. When grilling, you quickly seal in the juices from the piece you are cooking. An outside crust is created that acts as a barrier and prevents meat juices from migrating outside. Grilling takes minutes and it needs high temperatures to burn the meat on the outside. Smoking takes hours, sometimes even days. Don't be fooled by the common misconception that by throwing some wet wood chips over hot coals you can smoke your meat. At best you can only add some flavor on the outside because the moment the surface of the meat becomes dry and cooked, a significant barrier exists that inhibits smoke penetration. A properly smoked piece of meat has to be thoroughly smoked, on the outside and everywhere else. Only prolonged cold smoking will achieve that result. All these methods are different from each other, especially smoking and grilling. The main factor separating them is temperature.

Smoking - almost no heat, 52° - 140° F (12°-60° C), 1 hr to 2 weeks

Barbecuing - low heat, 200° - 300° F (93°-150° C), few hours

Grilling - high heat, 500° F (200° C), minutes

The purpose of grilling is to char the surface of meat and seal in the juices by creating a smoky caramelized crust. By the same token a barrier is erected that prevents smoke from flowing inside. The meat may have a somewhat smoky flavor on the outside but it was never smoked internally.

Barbecuing comes much closer, but not close enough. It is a long, slow, indirect, low-heat method that uses charcoal or wood pieces to smoke-cook the meat. The best definition is that barbecuing is cooking with smoke. It is ideally suited for large pieces of meat like ribs, loins or entire pigs. The temperature range of 200° -300° F is still too high to smoke meats which is especially important when smoking sausages since the fat will melt away through the casings and the final product will taste like bread crumbs. A barbecue unit can be used for smoking meats but remember that to smoke a large piece of meat will take hours and if the temperature will be high the meat will be cooked for a long time. That will make it very dry. Burn your charcoal briquettes outside until the ash is white, then introduce them inside otherwise they will impart a nasty flavor to your meat. This charcoal flavor might be acceptable for barbecued meats but must not be allowed when making quality smoked meat. Now wood chips may be placed on glowing embers to generate smoke. You can not substitute hardwood with charcoal briquettes no matter how pretty they look and how expensive they are. Hardwood wins every time. Smoking is what the word says: smoking meats with smoke that may or may not be followed by cooking. Some products are only smoked at low temperatures and never cooked, yet are safe to eat. Generally we may say that smoking consists of two steps:

1. Smoking

2. Cooking

After smoking is done we increase the temperature to about 170° F (76° C) to start cooking. The Food And Drug Administration recommends cooking meat products to 160° F (71° C) which is fine when cooking fresh meats. Meats to be smoked are almost always cured with nitrite and a considerable safety margin is added and most professional books recommend 154° F (68° C). Smoked meats don't always have to be baked to the safe temperature inside of the smokehouse. Many smoked meats such as hams, butts and sausages after smoking are cooked in hot water. The correct word would be poached as the water temperature is kept at about 176° F (80° C). There are important differences between smoking and barbecuing. Barbecued or grilled meats are eaten immediately the moment they are done. Smoked meats are usually eaten cold at a later date. When smoking foods a higher degree of smoke penetration is needed and that can be only achieved at lower temperatures. Furthermore, smoked meats are eaten cold. Many great recipes require that smoked products hang for a designated time to lose more weight to become drier. It is only then that they are ready for consumption.

About the Author
Adam Marianski has co-authored two books on meat smoking and making sausages. He runs the web site where you can find more about making quality meats at home.

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