Archive for November, 2009

Steam it, blend it, salt it, serve it.

November 30, 2009

Don’t you just love how your family is always begging for cauliflower? You keep insisting they have more pie but all they want is cauliflower.

Oh, wait. I mean the opposite.

Cauliflower is not the first thing that comes to my daughter’s or husband’s mind when I ask what they’re hungry for, but I have discovered a way to make it that has them eating second and third helpings.

Steam it, blend it, salt it, serve it. Seriously.

Chop up a medium head of cauliflower, steam it until it’s tender, add a little butter. Stick it in a blender add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Now, I’m not saying I’m tricking my family into eating a boatload of cauliflower, I’m just saying that if they assume they’re eating mashed potatoes, who am I to correct them? Try it yourself and see if your family can tell the difference.

And whatever you do, don’t tell my husband.

If Heidi Klum can do it…

November 23, 2009

I can’t believe Heidi Klum gave birth six weeks ago and then appeared in a Victoria Secret’s Runway show.  In lingerie.

I can tell you that six weeks after I gave birth to my daughter Zoe, I wasn’t showing so much as an ankle, let alone parading down a runway with wings.  Maybe the real secret is Klum’s trainer David Kirsch.

Even if I could afford her trainer, I can’t imagine finding the time to schlep uptown three days a week (and I imagine for the same price as a month of one-on-ones with him, I could actually buy Heidi Klum).

To my delight I discovered the NextFit exercise system.  It’s a little gizmo about the size of a cigarette lighter with ear buds, kind of like an iPod. You connect it to your computer, tell their site what your goals are, how you like to work out, what you like to do, etc. They recommend one of their super-experienced (and famous) trainers, and you download their workouts.  Disconnect your NextFit and you’re ready to go.

My favorite pilates guru, the one and only, Alycea Ungaro, is a NextFit trainer, along with Kathy Smith, Jeff Galloway, Kathy Kaehler and dozens more celebrity trainers (including undefeated UFC champion Baz Rutten. I only mention this because my husband stole my NextFit to train with Baz. I admire his workout ethic, but training with mixed martial artist and all around tough guy Baz Rutten, really? Joe flinches when his buddies high five him. )

Alycea Ungaro , owns Real Pilates NYC, which coincidentally is also where you can purchase your NextFit.  Realpilatesnyc.com.

See you on the runway.

Ancient Chinese Secret

November 20, 2009

Traditionally, I don’t believe in supplements. If you eat a healthy, balanced diet you should be able to get all of the nutrients you need from food.  But, let’s be realistic.  Sometimes it is hard to monitor everything our kids eat and with swine flu looming, it is better to be safe than sorry. So here’s one more natural way to boost your kid’s immune system during flu season, look no more.

My sister-in-law Candice, an acupuncturist and all around genius when it comes to Chinese medicine, herbs and natural remedies, told me about Herbasaurs chewable elderberry plus supplements (http://bit.ly/YUrkR).  Specially formulated for kids, these supplements are made with elderberry extract, reishi mushrooms and astragalus root.

So what does that mean for you? Well, Astragalus root has been used to promote immune function and as a tonic to build stamina. Elderberry is an excellent source of vitamins A, B and C and helps to strengthen the body’s immune system. Elderberries also contain bioflavonoids and anthocyanins, which positively influence cell function. Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years for treating fatigue, asthma, cough, and liver ailments, and to promote longevity. Reishi’s Chinese name lingzhi means “herb of spiritual potency.”

I had to hide the bottle from my husband.

Do you know what a CSA is?

November 19, 2009

No, it’s not some international counter-terrorist organization (unless, you consider unhealthy food terrorism). CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Okay, so what does that mean? It’s kind of like a trip to the grocery store that you share with 50-100 friends. When you buy into a CSA, you’re essentially buying a share in a local farmer’s crop. That provides you with a variety of reasonably priced fresh produce, which is dropped off at a central location for weekly pickup.

Local produce is fresher, so it is more nutritious and tastes better. Also, it’s usually more affordable and is better for the environment than, well, than every other option. Plus, if you’re single, it’s a great way to meet hot farmers.

The bottom line – I want you to eat Fresh, Local, Organic and Whole. This is a great way to start. Check out localharvest.org to find a CSA in your area.

November 18, 2009

My husband recently decided to be a vegan (or as it’s more commonly known, a pain in the tuchus). In all seriousness, I’m for saving animals, saving the planet, decreasing my carbon footprint, etc.  but who will save my marriage? Vegan cooking is tough. (Truth is, when push comes to shove I really am ALMOST a vegan, except I love dairy.  Honestly, I’d rather have a great stinky cheese or some greek yogurt than any sweet out there.)

But, I digress.

I had been struggling with finding delish vegan recipes the whole family could enjoy. Struggling, that is, until I found Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  Her recipes are delish, animal free and cheap. I am now officially obsessed with her Pumpkin Muffin recipe and her tofu scramble can be put up against any egg dish Tom Colicchio might whip up. I also love her “punkpoints” which are great cheeky tips to help out budding chefs. If you want to see this hardcore but lovable vegan in action check out her cooking show at postpunkkitchen.com.

Isa has a new vegan cookie cookbook – a fabulous holiday gift – Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (http://bit.ly/17zSnu).

This holiday season, save a tree, save a reindeer, be a vegan.

November 17, 2009

I just finished Hungry Monkey – A Food Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Andventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton. I have to say I love this guy! A restaurant critic, food writer, and self-proclaimed stay-at-home-Dad, Burton takes us along his hysterical gastronomic ride with his daughter Iris (sous-chef in training) as they navigate through one delicious dish after another. No kids menu for Iris, they eat as a family and approach food as fun, something they share, an adventure. From growing cilantro on their balcony to attempting Lasagna Bolognese, bacon-obsessed Burton shows us how he shares his love for food with Iris, letting her see the creativity, fun and most importantly the joy of food. I’m a big believer in exposing kids to a wide variety of foods so this book really hit home for me. Matthew is an excellent role model for getting away from the traditional “kids menu” of chicken fingers, hot dogs and hamburgers. If you’ve got a hungry monkey at home – and don’t we all? – pick up a copy (http://bit.ly/bWCVq). It’s is a wonderful (and fast) read.

Bubby’s

November 16, 2009

bubbys_restaurant

Just ate at Tribeca’s Bubby’s last night. Umm, yeah, it’s pretty incredible. Grass fed beef, locally grown produce and everything in the place is fresh, fresh, fresh. They even make every soda they serve from scratch with 100% cane sugar and zero high fructose corn syrup. It’s like they read my secret diet manifesto that I haven’t actually put on paper yet. I’m going to go ahead and put Bubby’s on my highly recommend list (bubbys.com). If you’re in the city, do yourself a favor and stop by.

And bring me.

Start eating right and you’ll…what was I saying?

November 13, 2009

Ants-on-a-log

As much as we worry about eating the right foods for our hearts, skin and waistlines, we often forget that we should also be feeding our brain the stuff it needs to stay happy – and I’m not talking about TMZ and Project Runway (although, for the record, I’m not ruling those out).

No, I’m referring to brain boosters like anthocyanin, quercetin and luteolin. Catchy names, huh? What’s great about these marvelous, but unfortunately labeled, phytochemicals is that they are anti-oxidants, which means they help take care of your grey matter. Think of them as your own personal “phone-a-friend” option. Only you eat them.

Okay, too much science and not enough food info? Here’s all you need to remember: Anthocyanin and quercetin are found in darker colored fruits and vegetables like apples, blueberries, onions, spinach, broccoli and red beets, and they help prevent memory loss.

Luteolin is an antioxidant (specifically a flavonoid, for those of you keeping track) that can prevent inflammation in your noggin and protect you and your family from age-related illnesses such as MS or Alzheimers. Parsley, green peppers and celery all have plenty of brain-protecting luteolin.

And to make things even easier, here’s a luteolin rich recipe even your kids will like – Bugs On A Muddy Branch (It’s my daughter’s favorite celery recipe. Yes, we have so many celery recipes that she has a favorite one.) Slice a celery stick lengthwise, fill each side with peanut butter and top it with raisins. It’s delish, packed with protein and fiber and super fun to eat.

Try it now. Before you forget.

Food, Inc.

November 11, 2009

food-inc

If you haven’t seen the film Food, Inc. please stop what you are doing (unless that happens to be some sort of life saving procedure like heart surgery or teaching my spinning class) and go watch this movie. Available on pay per view and Netflix, Food, Inc. is shocking and informative and something all of us should be aware of.

I’m not normally in the movie review business, but this is an important film that I really believe can help you. In fact, watching Food, Inc. is now officially the first homework assignment for every new client of mine.

Seriously, for the price of a latte and the time it takes to watch one and a half Real Housewives of New Jersey, you can give yourself a real education on the food we feed our families every day.

Fish for compliments

November 10, 2009

TheBestAntiAgingSecrets02-fish-oil

Yes, you need to take fish oil. Its healing powers are amazing and it’s been linked to preventing cancer and heart attacks, lowering your bad cholesterol, staving off depression (prozac of the sea?), improving your memory, making you smarter, and generally helping you live forever. But, let’s be honest, my favorite benefit of taking fish oil for a women of a certain age is what it does for our looks.

Good health and a great memory are super, but if you want glowing skin and lustrous hair, start taking your fish oil now. It helps make your skin supple by preventing the formation of wrinkles and helping to maintain collagen and elastin levels, and the omega 3 fatty acids make your hair shiny and gorgeous by nourishing your sebatious glands to add moisture to your hair. (Who knew you had sebatious glands?)

I love cooking fish and prefer to get my omega 3s that way, but supplements do the job as well. But, here’s the thing – Not all fish oil supplements are pure and healthy for you. Make sure you’ve got the good stuff. Check out international fish oil standards http://www.ifosprogram.com or the environmental defense fund http://www.edf.org to make sure your fish oil is pure and devoid of mercury and other toxins.

Or you can just use the old toothpick test – pour a few tablespoons of fish oil into a shot glass and stick it in your freezer for at least 5 hours.  If you can still pass a toothpick easily through the oil then it should be ok. If the oil is frozen solid, then something’s fishy.