Friday, July 29, 2011

Cherry, curry, Green, Red, heirloom, beefsteak...What are they?

Yummm! Tomatoes. One of my favorites that I can't do without be it Italian, Greek, Thai, Indian or American cuisine.

So,what do you do to make them delectable? Check out for a few recipes on this site during the month of August.

Ingredients for a Cherry Tomato salad

Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pitted or non-pitted pine, walnut or a combination of the two
1 cup sliced green and black olives, unsalted and pitted
2 green onions, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme, basil or oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Healthy mid-day snacks that health experts eat

Try these. You might actually like them!

Mid-day snack variety:

Apple pieces with a touch of organic peanut butter

1/2 cup trail mix

1 small cup of Greek yogurt

Frozen grapes... Umm Yum

8 almonds

a cup of any raw vegetable with hummus

Monday, July 25, 2011

Calorie Counting. Does it really help keep your weight in check?

I once was crazy about counting calories and kept a watch on the total calorie intake everyday. I do not count calories anymore but I think my body shuts off when it has reached a certain point after a meal. So, my intake is rarely excessive except when I am determined to finish my dessert. The point here is the mind can train the system to stop after a certain point, and after some time it automatically shuts off before the excess point.

I understand calorie counting will not necessarily help obesity. Obesity may also be related to stress, hormones, or due to side-effect of a medication. Does listing calories really help? Instead of calories can these marketers be forced to list exactly what chemicals have gone into growing, feeding or producing these foods, and which ones are genetically modified? It would actually make more sense.

I actually think calorie labeling is a marketing strategy. It's for the consumers to see what value they get for their money. For eg. the lower income group will probably look at it this way - Higher the calorie better the value. More food for less means a lot more value to a lower-income consumer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Faraci's pizza

This one comes highly recommended by me. An Italian pizza place in Ballwin, St. Louis?

While like all other, there are mixed reviews on the site, some mid-westerners truly don't recognize good food when they taste one since they are so used to the gross cheese and bottled sauces.

Faruci's pizza is authentic in every way. Tomato sauce that is neither tart nor sweet but just right made with fresh tomatoes. Vegetables that are absolutely fressssh and cooked right; crust that's great as well, not premade or artifical and cheese not over spread or over done. Overall tastes great and would go there again, and again.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Don't make cooking a chore!

I've discovered that I can have a variety of foods almost every day of the week if I stock my pantry with some basic ingredients. Such as stocking some common Indian spices for Indian cooking; for Italian, some good home made sauces, herbs, mozzarella or parmesan reggiano cheese, and olive oil. For chinese, things like spicy schezuan sauces, noodles, sesame oil; and for Thai some of the basic ingredients such as Pad Thai,chile paste and coconut milk. Same goes for Mexican as well. All one would need are some asian vegetables and the usuals you buy in a regular grocery store. Set aside about 30 to 45 mins. every other evening for cooking and it is quite simple to cook a meal to last a couple days.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cherry Soup

Generally one associates soup of any kind with warmth to be had on a cold winter day. How about cold soup on a hot summer day.

Here is an unusual one I came across and gave it my own creative twist.

Boil sweet dry cherries in hot water. For a cup of cherries, add one cup of water. Add two tablespoons of sugar. Boil again until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat. Let it cool down to room temperature. Add a cup of yogurt and a cup of buttermilk. Whisk everything together. Add some lemon zest and serve cold. You may add a touch of mint. (optional)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How much vitamins should one have?

Now that's a confusing question. Vitamin D, C, B12, additional calcium, multi-vitamins...should we take these, should there be more? Is that too much? Also, when would one have them, with what? Should vitamins be taken only if the doctor recommends them?

I know people who take it as part of their daily diet routine. There are conflicting articles that say vitamins are not necessary at all. Not sure if that is a valid statement knowing fully well that vegetarians lack some of the nutrients that additional vitamins can offer. The bigger question is will they do more harm than good?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Should we blame ourselves for overeating?

I am not going to. My brains take over and influence me to keep eating especially when it understands that the cells in my body need fat.

At least, that's what a recent research says. It seems that when the body/brian realizes that we have tasted a food that is rich in fat it transforms us like a marihuana addict making us have more and more of it. People's bodies react to taste in different ways. Some are born to eat I guess so their natural tedencies are to over eat resulting in obesity. In some people, overeating is because the brain pushes them to do so. The digestive system that produces this particular chemical that makes one overeat is not related to taste buds asking for more or even hunger, it is rather a reaction of our brains to the fat in food.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Recipe of the week - Tomato Crostini

Crostini with Tomatoes is this week's recipe.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer - perfect for saucing, grilling, sauteing

You can get quite creative in sauces with a mix and match of some basic ingredients -- tomatoes, shredded raw or sauteed garlic and onions, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, some tart fruits, certain ripe fruits like mango or pineapple, cilantro, olive oil, buttermilk, and yogurt.

For grilling - A combination of herbs, cheeses, garlic spread, seasonings, either Indian, Italian or Greek can produce magic. Olive oil sprinkled over vegetables - onion, eggplant, potato, peppers - red, green, yellow, orange; mushrooms, green firm tomatoes, squashes or any un-soggy vegetable.

Several of the appetizers that call for frying can be replaced with sauteing that practically cuts all grease.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where do I begin?

I realized a while ago that healthy living does not start by just visiting the doctor's office off and on. It needs to be part of a lifestyle just like having a meal. Do we ever skip meals? I would say hardly. At times we may skip a meal due to inconvenience but nobody really starves.

It is about making the right choices at every step beginning with the grocery store. Avoid buying the things that are the root cause of health problems. I would include in the list the following:

Red meat
Transfat products
Processed anything
Frozen foods
Extremly sweet cereals
Sugared juices

One may not be able to completely stay away from all of these all the time. So, reserve them for one to two particular days a month if you so crave. If mothers follow this, then the rest are easy. Your kids will never find junk at home. It's a big step toward warding off obesity. If parents don't follow a healthy lifestyle themselves, kids cannot be blamed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A beaten-to-death topic

Sure,almost everyone reads labels -- from food to clothing and everything in between. What do they really mean? Are foods that claim to be organic, truly organic? Are they any better than those not labeled organic? Most likely not.

Why are manufacturers and marketers lying then?

With regards to meats, most contain nitrates or nitrites including those that say organic. Nitrates and nitrites are cancer-causing agents whether they are produced naturally or synthetically. So, nobody is sure as to what benefits labels really add for these meat products. The US department of agriculture says it is aware of this lying and wants to take a fresh look at labeling standards.

In connection with labeling and selling organic meat, one interesting argument that a meat processor came up with was that customers really don't go for the 'no nitrate' in meat because they do not taste good and nobody wants them!! This is like one of my family members who says all things from Trader Joe's although possibly healthier than regular grocery stores, don't taste good at all and emphatically says No to things from there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Does exercising really matter?

I am finding people who exercise put in a lot of effort to maintain good health- physical, emotional and mental. On the other hand, I also see people who hardly exericse and are in perfect health, may even be in better health. What is their secret? It may lie in the fact that they are always upbeat, nothing really gets to them or perturbs them!

A family member says my exercising is producing results for others in the family. Not sure in what way. Could be an excuse for not exercising. In any case, I have met several friends and family members who have rarely stepped into a gym, maybe never, but don't have any health issues. Not sure how to explain that, maybe they are all blessed with good genes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Spend the day with people, food, and fireworks. Have fun!