Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 Summer Supper Fri, 15 Jun 2018 15:01:00 +0000 Happy June! June 3rd was National Egg Day and the 4th was Cheese Day—two of my favorite things. Which reminds me of one of my "go to" meals when we are pressed for time—as many of us are these busy summer days. I call it, poached eggs in red sauce; I thought I invented this dish.

That is, until I heard an interview on public radio on the vast and various ways cultures around the world use the humble egg. My dish, as it turns out, has versions all over the world. It's called shashouka in northern Africa, Omlet-e-gojeh in Iran, Kagiana in Greece and Eggs in Purgaotry in Italy. By whatever name, this dish is a staple in my house.

When I am pressed for time, I take out a skillet, rummage in the fridge for a jar of salsa or marinara sauce, and:

  • fill the skillet with about an inch of sauce (add some water in you need to)
  • heat until the sauce just begins to bubble
  • crack eggs one at a time into a separate bowl, then tipping the bowl slide the egg into the simmering sauce
  • cover the skillet cook until yolks are set, 3-7 minutes, depending on the number of eggs
  • grate a little cheese on top : whatever kind you have on hand

And, although I'm a little disappointed that I did not create this dish. I am still a huge fan—try it some busy evening when you have less than 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. Serve with crusty bread and a side veggie or salad and enjoy one of the most wonderfully simple meals known to man.

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy!

Eggs! Tue, 27 Mar 2018 16:47:00 +0000 EGGS—zactly Right!

Eggs! The wonderful protein –cheap, easy to prepare and versatile! You can poach, boil, coddle, bake or fry them. Fold them into an omelet or bake them in a casserole. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, eggs are a perfect addition to anyone's diet. Why not eggs?

Here are some tips/facts about eggs:

  • Eggs are an important source of protein, vitamins, antioxidants and essential amino acids.
  • Each egg contains six grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat, (1.5 grams saturated /2 grams mono-unsaturated fat).
  • A large egg contains 185mg cholesterol (in the yolk). To eliminate cholesterol, replace each whole egg with two egg whites.
    (Recent studies have shown that the cholesterol in eggs does not always effect cholesterol in our blood)
  • Fertile eggs are no more nutritious than non-fertile eggs.
  • Eggs are very economical! About 18 cents each!
  • To store keep eggs in carton and place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (can be kept 4-5 weeks after the date on the carton)
  • To crack: tap egg firmly on flat surface (kitchen counter).
  • Hitting egg on the edge of a bowl will drive bits of shell into the egg.
  • Cracked/shelled eggs can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 1 year.
  • Egg substitute or egg product can be purchased chilled or frozen. These are pasteurized, flavored, egg whites with added color. They do not contain cholesterol.
  • The color of the shell means nothing---it is actually associated with breed of chicken—all egg are nutritionally identical.
  • Food safety concerns: assume all eggs are infected with Salmonella
  • Cook all eggs to 160 degrees
  • Wash all countertops, utensils with hot soapy water
  • Never use the same utensils for raw eggs and ready to eat foods without washing
  • NEVER allow anyone to eat products containing raw eggs, e.g. cookie dough, uncooked eggnog, protein drinks made with raw eggs, etc.
  • Cook eggs on low to medium heat for best results.
  • Do not add salt to eggs prior to cooking as it may cause watery eggs.

This time of year many families like to dye or color eggs. Be sure to follow food safety guidelines when using boiled eggs. Colored eggs must be refrigerated promptly after the color dries. If using real eggs for an Easter egg hunt make sure the eggs are not out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Or simply discard the eggs when the hunt is complete.

Here are some recommendations for dyeing eggs naturally from the American Egg Board:

Making your own natural colors

Simmer uncooked eggs in water for up to 20 minutes with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of water and one of the following materials.

Material Color

Fresh beets or cranberries, frozen raspberries Pinkish red

Yellow onion skins Orange

Ground turmeric Yellow

Spinach leaves Pale green

Yellow Delicious apple peels Green-gold

Canned blueberries or red cabbage leaves Blue

Strong brewed coffee Beige to brown

  • Ever wonder why your boiled eggs have that green ring around the yolk? This is caused by the suphur in the egg white reacting with the iron in the yolk. This chemical reaction is exaggerated when eggs are cooked too long or at too high a temperature or cooled too slowly. Avoid the green ring by following these directions:

The perfect boiled egg

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Cover, bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Let stand 11-13 minutes. Remove eggs from water. Chill by immersing eggs in ice water before peeling.

Healthier Deviled Eggs

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (optional)


Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Discard 3 yolks. Add remaining yolks; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Spoon about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg white half. Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika and black pepper. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Find more recipes and how to videos on our website:

Just click on the youtube icon!

Go Further with Food Fri, 02 Mar 2018 11:38:00 +0000 March is National Nutrition Month and the 2018 theme is Go Further with Food.

We could go on about money wasted, landfill space and hungry people across the globe or down the street. Although those are sobering thoughts, they are abstract.

What can we do in our own kitchens to combat this terrible waste of food? How can we Go Further with Food?

Here are a few tasty tips to use some of those items we might otherwise throw away:

  1. The dates on packages of food are NOT expiration dates. They are dates placed on the items to ensure best quality, NOT safety. Store food properly and it will last well beyond the use/sell by dates.
  2. Make stock:take vegetable scraps/peelings/stalks and add them to a large pot. Toss in a bone from chicken or roast (or not). Fill with water and simmer for an hour or so. Strain and store in the freezer.
  3. Sauté root vegetable (beets, carrots, onions, turnips) tops as you would kale or spinach. If they are bitter, add a little something sweet, like honey or dried fruit.
  4. Save the ends of carrots, peppers and onions and puree in a food processor with an egg. Add to meatloaf or meatballs.
  5. Toss leftover herbs and stems into your blender with extra-virgin olive oil and add to salad dressing, marinade or main dish. Freeze the oil in ice cube trays for easy use.
  6. Use leftover raw cut up fruit and veggies to flavor water. Keep a pitcher in your fridge!
  7. Sauce does not have to be made from apples. Cook any overripe fruit with a little sweetener for a tasty treat.
  8. Keep a re-sealable container in the freezer, add bits of leftover veggies—make soup when the container is full.
  9. Shredded veggies with a little Greek yogurt or low fat mayo make a great sandwich topping.

10. Sauté veggies and add to omelets.

11. Smoothies and fruit leather are great uses for over ripe fruit.

12. Puree and freeze (1/2 cup amounts) fruit for use as fat replacement in recipes.

13. Use any other fruit in place of the bananas to make bread.

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

Spring! Shop Your Pantry First Fri, 02 Feb 2018 08:36:00 +0000 February—the month where we learn if Spring is around the corner. Whether you believe in the prophetic wisdom of a hibernating rodent (aka, Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog) or in the reality that the earth is beginning to tip more towards the sun, Spring is coming! It is a great time to look ahead. Everyone gets a little restless in the Spring---the sap begins to flow, new babies are in the barnyard, even houseplants put on new growth. There is promise in the air of new things to come.

One thing I like to do with the energy of impending Spring is to clean house. An area we often neglect is our food storage. I teach a lesson on food budgeting where I suggest that you shop at home first. By that I mean look into those deep dark corners of your pantry, bend down into the caverness deep freeze and commit to using what you find. This year, instead of merely rearranging the items in your food storage, why not use them? Experiment with some new recipes, try new food combinations. Surprise yourself! Try it for a week or two. I pledge to buy only milk, eggs and a few fresh fruits and vegetables this month.

How am I going to do that?

1. I will take inventory of what is in my pantry and freezer and make a list.

2. I will systematically use the oldest things first.

3. I will use my slow cooker to have savory soups and stews ready for my family's evening meals.

I think it will make me feel good that I am decreasing my grocery bill while using things that I might otherwise have to throw out. Remember to look at the dates on your packages. Most of them will have a "Best if used by" date—that means exactly what it says. The product contained therein will be best by that date. It will not be spoiled. It will not make you sick. The items in your freezer, if not stored in an airtight manner might have some freezer burn. The food might have absorbed some flavors of other foods, this will not hurt you. But if the package is torn or if it smells "off" toss it. When in doubt, throw it out!

When using items from your freezer, remember to thaw them in your refrigerator or under cool running water; NOT on your counter! By month's end, I hope you have an empty freezer and pantry. This is a perfect time to wipe down the shelves and wash the inside of the freezer with a mild detergent. And when you replenish your freezer, make sure you double wrap items in foil or freezer paper. Another great tip is to label foods on the side of the package with the type of food and the date it was prepared, so you can see it clearly when the foods are stacked on the shelves.

Organize your dry goods by kind to encourage regular use and always place the newer items in back of older ones. FIFO is a term used in the restaurant industry; it means first in first out. Food is an investment –take care of it!

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

Use this Create- a -Dish chart from the University of Nebraska to produce tasty meals for your family!

Here is a video that shows you how to freeze foods.


Eat More Salads! Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:12:00 +0000 Was your resolution to eat more veggies? Are you eating more salads to get healthy?

Me too, I often eat salads and have struggled with the dressing dilemma. I tried the low fat bottled dressings and did not like them; in fact, I quit salads altogether back in the low fat diet craze days. Now there is new research suggesting that in order to get all the nutrients from the veggies in your salad, you need to use dressing that contains oil. This is great news for me—I love a good vinegar and oil dressing.

An article, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cited research done by Wendy White, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University. White's study suggests eating salad greens and vegetables with added fat—in the form of soybean oil—enhances the absorption of various micronutrients that promote human health.

The study indicated that salad vegetables dressed with oil aided in the absorption of several micronutrients: alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene; two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K; and vitamin A. White said better absorption of these nutrients promotes a range of health benefits,including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.

This is great news for salad lovers, but be careful not to overdue a good thing. The average adult needs approximately 2 tablespoons of fat each day—so enjoy your salad dressed with vinegar and oil—but do not make the lettuce float!

Try this homemade dressing:

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 12

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup acid (such as red winevinegar, lemon juice or ½ apple cider vinegar ½ balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground blackpepper
  1. Put all ingredients into an airtight container.
  2. Secure the lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Salad dressing can be storedin the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to oneweek.

Tip: The size of this recipe can be adjusted up or down by keeping the same ratio of three parts oil to one part acid.

Instead of a New Year's Sun, 31 Dec 2017 15:10:00 +0000  

New Years' resolutions ---lose 20 pounds by Feb. 4th. Run a marathon in May. Bench press 200 pounds by April. Each year we set ourselves up for failure. How many times have you put yourself on a "diet" only to fall off the wagon a few days later?

I know in my lifetime I have gained and lost hundreds of pounds by doing just that. Starving myself, eating only cabbage soup, sitting in a sauna with a sweat suit on----and I did lose weight, at first. There are many different and credible diet programs available, many of them are nutritionally legitimate, most of them work; if you stay with the program. But how many of us can stay on a regimented series of prescribed food choices and recipes?

We lead busy lives, we are in a hurry---we do not have time to DIET. Mark Sturgell,, suggests that instead of a "die-it" we go on a "live-it". Have you ever thought about the word diet? Why would we want to commit ourselves to something that has the word die in it? We want to live—and live well. Let that be our resolution and our theme for the year. How can we "live-it" this day, this week, this month?

Try to do one thing that will make your life better. Choose just one thing: make an extra trip up the stairs, park in the very last spot in the parking lot, use whole wheat bread to make your sandwich, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at supper, include a vegetable with your breakfast, EAT breakfast---you know what to do---just pick one.

Do not overwhelm yourself and sabotage your good intent. Do one good thing and be proud of yourself .David Horsager, author of The Daily Edge, suggests that 90 days is the amount of time necessary to make or break a habit. He also suggests asking yourself, How? How do you plan to achieve this goal? He states that asking How? three times will get to the crux of the matter. I am making a pledge to make ½ my plate vegetables at lunch and supper for 90 days.

How am I going to do that? #1 how: I will pack my lunch. #2 how: I will stock the freezer and cabinet both at work and at home with frozen and low sodium canned vegetables. #3 how: I will make sure I have a few raw veggies washed and ready to pop in my mouth in those first few "hungry" minutes after I arrive home from work.

What are you going to do? For more good information, recipes, articles, Pinterest and videos to help you achieve your goal visit: the University of Illinois Extension site:

Crustless Spinach Quiche (watch the video by clicking on the youtube icon on the U of I Extension webpage)

5 large eggs, beaten
6 ounces low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
4 ounces feta cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons margarine
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 box (10-ounce) frozen spinach, thawed and drained

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Spray a quiche or 10-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except spinach.
  4. Stir in spinach.
  5. Pour into pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until slightly browned on top.

FromRecipes for Diabetesby University of Illinois Extension

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

Presents! Fri, 22 Dec 2017 12:03:00 +0000 Visons of sugarplums dancing in your head? Or are you Yule-tired? Think just one more cookie with that cup of eggnog is just what you need before your long winter's nap? Maybe not—maybe the yule-tiredness comes from too much of everything. We all want to enjoy the holidays but I often hear people say—I just want it to be over! We work and stress and make ourselves sick.

Let's not—let's take these next three precious days and enjoy our holiday. How you ask? Well, maybe ….

It's all about the presents……

Give yourself a present. Sit by your tree for 10 minutes each morning before everyone else wakes up. Breathe deeply, let it out slowly and count your blessings.

Be present to the service folks you encounter throughout your day. Smile and thank the harried delivery person. Leave a note for your mail carrier—and maybe a cookie or two.

Forget the last minute presents. Do not be tempted to run out and buy more presents because your tree looks "skimpy" or to "even up" the gifts. Five years from now they won't remember who got what.

Present healthy alternatives at your meals. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies—every time you eat.

Live in the present moment. Watch your favorite Christmas movie, go for a walk, read a children's Christmas storybook, listen to the laughter of your family home for the Holidays.

Present yourself with a glass of water every hour or so—it will do wonders for your mood and your waistline.

Give a present to the person behind you at the drive-thru by paying for their order.

Remember that this present, this day ,will not occur again. Make it count, enjoy it, find one thing to help make someone else's day better—and it will make yours better also!