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New Year, New Diet.

The Facts About Top Diet Trends

diet plan

Anyone on a new diet this year, err lifestyle plan?  New Year’s resolutions are all about losing weight, getting healthy and making changes.  There is certainly no shortage of diet trends out there but picking the right one for you can be tricky.  Not everyone has the same goals, or the same budget.  So, I thought I’d help you narrow down the choices based on facts.  Here are the top diet trends, a list of some important info, and a link where you can find more information.  (*Disclaimer: this list is in no way comprehensive or meant to cure or treat any disease or illness.  You should consult your doctor before beginning any new diet plan.  Also, I do have my degree in dietetics and have studied food, nutrition and culinary arts for the entirety of my adult life.  But I’m not a doctor.  The statements below are a collaboration of my opinion (the list itself) and researched facts (specifics pertaining to each diet plan).)  There are a zillion diets out there.  If the one you are interested in is not on this list, email me and I can help!

 

Paleo:  www.thepaleodiet.com

The basic premise is to eat like a caveman.  There are some conflicting ideas about whether the intention is to eat only foods found in the paleolithic era.  But since woolly mammoths and cave lions are now extinct, we have to be a little flexible.  While finding food is a smidge easier, i.e less hunting and gathering, more loading up the cart at Whole Foods- the idea is that the foods should be about the same; whole, nutrient dense, not-processed foods.

 

 

Foods Allowed:

  • Grass Fed meats, Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts Seeds, Healthy Fats and Oils (olive, walnut, coconut, flaxseed, grapeseed, and of course avocado). Organic, non-GMO as much as possible.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Grains, Preservatives, Dairy (though some raw dairy is sometimes allowed), Refined Sugar, Refined Vegetable Oils, and even a few surprising foods like Legumes, Beans and Potatoes.

The various foods allowed and not allowed are not just based on what was available when our stone-age ancestors walked the Earth, but also about potential health benefits and harmful properties inherit therein.

 

Whole 30: whole30.com

You can do anything for 30 days.  And 30 days is just enough time to cut out the junk, let your body heal, establish healthier habits with food and get to a better you.

Foods Allowed:

  • Moderate amounts of meat, seafood, eggs. Lots of vegetables.  A few fruits.  And plenty of natural fats.  The idea is to consume whole, natural foods that are not processed, as minimally processed as possible, or to be able to read and understand every ingredient on a food label.

Foods to Avoid:

No Alcohol

  • Added Sugar- of any kind. So, no honey, agave, date syrup, coconut sugar, stevia or maple syrup.  Basically, if it makes the food sweeter, it’s a no-go.  I see you sneaky fruit juice!
  • Alcohol, even for cooking.
  • All grains.  Glutenous or Gluten Free.  Period.
  • No one really knows what legumes are (just kidding, we do!), but things like beans, lentils, soy and peanuts qualify.
  • Eggs of all forms-raw, pasteurized, fermented, frozen or soured.  If it comes out an animals mammary glands, it’s dairy.  And just to be clear, eggs are not dairy…they are just usually found in the diary section of the grocery store because that’s where the refrigerators are.
  • Some popular preservatives like Carrageenan, MSG and Sulfites.
  • And they also discourage the creation of “junk like foods” made from approved foods. Trying to make a chicken breast and broccoli brownie just misses the point altogether of avoiding junk food, doesn’t it?

Weight Watchers: www.weightwatchers.com

This oldie, but goodie, just got a face lift!  Their new Freestyle program offers greater flexibility with food choices, but still keep the accountability and tracking features that have scientifically proven to contribute to overall weight loss success.

Foods Allowed:  

  • All of them! Each food is assigned a point value, and based on your goals and current stats, you are assigned a certain number of points each day.  Spend, or rather eat, the points as you like, but track it all for greater success.

Foods to Avoid:

  • The usual- highly processed foods, added sugar and unhealthy fats.

 

Mediterranean Diet:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

mediterranean dietAnother classic, this diet has been on the top 5 list for decades.  Developed after the eating habits of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, it mingles moderation and foods proven to help reduce risks for chronic and acute illness.

Major Points:

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Replace butter and other saturated or trans-fats with heart-healthy fats like olive oil.
  • Limit red meat to a few times a month.
  • Eat fish and chicken several times a week.
  • Enjoy red wine in moderation (optional).
  • Get plenty of rest and enjoy meals with friends and family.

 

Ketogenic (aka Keto) Diet: https://ketodash.com/ketogenic-diet

First, it is important to note that ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis.  They are related, but the latter is very dangerous and can lead to serious complications.  Ketosis is the precursor to ketoacidosis, and while it is technically considered an adaptive nutritional state, it does have some important medical benefits.  The diet first started as a treatment method for epileptic patients to reduce seizures in the brain.  Previous therapies included outright starvation, which produced the same result.  However, the body suffered greatly as there was no nutrition to support the rest of the body.  What is now called “fed starvation”, the body gets the nutrition it needs thru the high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet, and the brain gets the relief it needs thru the production of ketones.

Keto Diet

So what if you don’t have epilepsy?  Here’s where the science happens.  I’ll try to keep it simple.  Basically, the human body “prefers” glucose as a fuel source.  Think sugar and carbohydrates.  That’s why when you are hungry, I mean really really hungry, you unconsciously go for the sugary snacks and drinks.  They work fast because it is an efficient fuel source.  But what would happen if fat was the primary source of fuel for the body, and carbohydrates the last?  Well, that’s the Keto diet!  In a nut shell, the body doesn’t use fat directly as a fuel source, but instead has to convert it to glucose for use.  In that process, ketones are produced, and the body uses them for energy.

So how does someone lose weight eating mostly fat, if they already have excess fat?  Great question!  The answer, it takes some time.  Being in ketosis doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on activity level and other factors.  But once you reach that stage, your body has basically converted its primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fat.  And just like ALL FOOD you consume, taking in too much will lead to the excess being stored as fat- so you have to find the ratios that work best for your body and your activity level.

Foods Allowed:

  • Fat, like olives, avocados, bacon, fatty meats, butter, full fat cheese and other dairy, nuts. About 70% of your total calories for the day should come from fat. (As good an excuse to by the Wagyu beef as any!)
  • Moderate amounts of protein like red meat, chicken, eggs, fish and seafood. About 25% of your total calories should come from protein.  (This can be tricky to calculate since most protein is not just straight protein, but also contains some fat.)
  • Net Carbohydrates. Net, meaning total carbs minus the dietary fiber.  You can find it on a food label.  But remember, vegetables are technically carbs, albeit high fiber carbs.  But only about 5% of your total calories should come from carbohydrate food sources.

Tracking is key until you find a rhythm.  I suggest the My Fitness pal app, #notsponsored, because it does all the work and math for you.  Also, it is really easy to select foods from a list or add your own with the barcode scanner feature.

Foods to Avoid:

  • There isn’t a specific list of foods to avoid. Although high sugar foods like sweets, sodas, candies, etc. should just generally be avoided.  Also, high glycemic index foods like potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. are going to be hard to factor in because of their high net carb value.  That 5% will go fast!
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Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Jonelle Luchsinger

This month’s Chef’s Spotlight: Meet Chef Jonelle!

Chef Jonelle Luchsinger
Chef Jonelle Luchsinger

Raised in Anchorage, Alaska and Upstate NY, Chef Jonelle began her informal culinary training at a 100-year-old restaurant on one of The Finger Lakes. She quickly fell in love with cooking and decided to continue her education at Johnson & Wales University.  She graduated in 2007 with an associate’s degree.

Eager to practice her skills and further her education through experience, she worked for a variety of restaurants ranging in Middle Eastern, Modern American and Italian cuisines. She took pride in starting from the bottom, working her way up each station, absorbing everything she could along the way.

An opening in the in-house bakery of Rosalies Cucina, where she worked on the line, led to a full-time head baker position and a new love for bread and pastries. She would later go on to work under Maurizio Negrini, of Izzio’s, learning the art of Artisan Italian Bread.

Restaurant and bakery industries can be rough. They generally require working long hours on your feet during nights, weekends and holidays. In return, the pay is low, the benefits are few and the turnover is high causing for stressful working conditions. Even in the best managed restaurants, it’s hard to find a work/life balance while working opposite schedules as the rest of society. The high demands paired with few rewards of the industry can quickly turn the passion you once had into resentment.

Five years after switching gears to Quality Assurance and Food Safety Roles, she found herself once again on her feet, in her kitchen most nights and weekends. This time cooking not only because she wanted to, but because she had to.  An artist needs a creative outlet and a chef needs to cook!

Chef Jonelle is currently one year into her dream job at Friend that Cooks!  She is able to spend her days cooking; doing what she loves all while having endless creative freedom, a desirable schedule, a great management team supporting her, and amazing clients to cook for! Chef Jonelle currently lives in a north suburb of Denver.  She likes to grow her own vegetables and is planning her wedding that will take place later this year.

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After School Snack Attack

healthy snacksAfter-school snack.  Let’s face it.  It’s basically the 4th most important meal of the day.  And between a full day of school, homework, sports, band, dance and chess club, it should be!  Kids are just smaller versions of adults, and if you want them to make it thru the day without a sugar crash or major meltdown, good nutrition in the middle of the day is a great place to start.

You don’t have time to make your own Greek-style yogurt and beef jerky, or maybe you do.  But a box of Cheez-Its does not a healthy snack make.  The trick to snacks is having options the kids actually like, and getting them to eat it.

Unfortunately, pretty much anything on the shelf at the grocery store with the word SNACK on it is full of sugar, fat and loaded with empty calories.

 

There are 4 things to keep in mind when considering a snack choice for kids.  After all, the whole point is to keep their brains and bodies moving for another 4-5 hours.  What should you look for?

 

  1. Calories. Depending on your child’s activity level, calories matter. But most kids don’t need a 550-calorie cheeseburger happy meal.  Keep it between 200-400 calories.  That’s plenty to get them thru until dinner.
  2. Nutrition. We gotta keep them moving, so the snack should provide a good balance between protein, fat and carbohydrate.
  3. Timing. Scrambled egg sandwiches are a great option to keep your kid fueled up for sports. But maybe not 10 minutes before swim practice.
  4. Easy. Good news! You don’t have to spend 40 hours each week sourcing organic hemp seeds and crushing your own almonds for almond butter.  That’s what you have Friend That Cooks for! 😉 And for those of you that don’t, we put together a list of 15 awesome choices that go together in a flash.
  • Celery, Dried Fruit, Peanut Butter: 2 stalks celery- halved, palmful of small dried fruits- think raisins, cranberries, or chopped banana pieces, 2 tablespoons peanut butter- or almond, sun-nut or other butter of your choice.
  • Peanut Butter and Pretzel Sticks: Again, whatever kind of nut or non-nut butter you want, just a couple of tablespoons, and about ¼ cup of pretzel sticks.
  • Clementines and Dark Chocolate: For a lighter, sweeter snack idea, pair the easy-to-peel citrus with 1 ounce of dark chocolate. This one makes a tasty dessert for adults too!
  • Zucchini Bread Muffins: Add some plain flavored protein powder, or a handful of chopped nuts on top, for an extra protein kick. Check out this recipe here.
  • Snack Mix: Avoid unwanted sugars and extra calories and make your own!  Trader Joe’s is a great place to stock up on nuts, dried fruits and seeds.  Portion out the mix into ¼ cup individual snack bags for even more portion control.
  • Granola Protein Bites: There are literally hundreds of recipes on the internet for something like this. But here is one that we’ve tried and our clients really enjoy.  The flavor combinations are endless, so feel free to play.
  • Fruit and Coconut Water Popsicles: This one is great while the weather is still warm. The electrolyte boost is also perfect for your sports players and dancers.
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Toast: It can’t get any simpler than this. Once slice of whole grain bread, 1 Tablespoon PB and a half a banana.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs: These are great to have on hand as “add-ons”. Pair with the zucchini bread muffins, or even some hummus and veggies for a protein punch.
  • Hummus and Veggies: Sabra makes handy individual cups for even less prep! Sub the hummus for guacamole for something different.
  • Tuna Salad and Veggies: 1 can tuna packed in water- drained, 1 celery stalk- chopped, 1 hardboiled egg- chopped, 1 Tablespoon plain Greek yogurt or mayo, 1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Celery stalks, carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes are all kid friendly and easy to prep ahead.
  • Cheese and Crackers or Fruit: 2 ounces of cubed cheese and 5 crackers is all it takes. If you can get away with it, pick a whole grain cracker option for maximum nutrients.  1 small apple or a handful of fresh berries to change it up.
  • Yogurt and Fruit: a small palmful of fruit goes really well with Greek yogurt.  The natural sugars in the fruit will flavor plain yogurt nicely, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.  A few chopped nuts go a long way too.
  • Tortilla Roll-ups: Think small, fajita sized tortillas, wrapped around some leftover meat from last night’s dinner, a smear of hummus, guac or spreadable cheese and voila!  Sliced bell peppers fit nicely inside that roll-up if you want to sneak in some veggies.
  • Nuts and Everything: 1 ounce, or about a palmful of roasted almonds or pistachios pair nicely with fruit, cheese or just about anything else.  The protein and fat content of the nuts keep the energy flowing until dinnertime.
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Lose Weight Walking – Health Ambition

walking up stairs for weight lossCan You Lose Weight by Walking?

As the end of summer approaches and school starts back up,  schedules start to fill up quickly again. Sometimes you start to lose sight of your daily tasks and goals, like keeping up with your fitness regime. Maybe you haven’t exercised in a while or just starting out. Some people might be nervous about getting started or need that extra push to start up again. Walking is a great first step for that (pun intended).

Our friend, Helen from Health Ambition, wrote an article about the benefits of walking and how to get started. Walking is a great low impact exercise with a high impact on reducing stress and improving overall health and weight loss. Did you know that walking 75 minutes a week can drastically improve general health conditions. Check out the article below for quick tips, tricks and motivation to start walking again!

Can You Lose Weight Walking 

For more tips and information from Health Ambition, check out there Facebook page here.

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Round 2 Battle of the Brands

#MarchMadness in KC

We made it past Round 1 of the 2017 Battle of the Brands and need your votes again to make it to the #SweetSixteen of this #NCAATourney bracket style competition! #KCBattle2017

Followers from all the cities we service are welcome to vote once per round, from each of their devices. Voting starts each week Monday morning, and concludes Thursday at midnight.

A vote for Friend That Cooks is a vote to support our mission of providing a better “quality of life” for our clients AND our chefs through #healthy and #affordable weekly #mealprep.

Comeback next week to see if we made it to the next round!

 

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Breaking It Down: A Guide To Cutting and Cooking Large Winter Squash

Butternut and Spaghetti Squash
Butternut and Spaghetti Squash

It’s fall, and winter squash season.  Everywhere you look there is a tasty new recipe for butternut, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin.  You Pin them on Pinterest.  You print them off.  You see them piled high on the shelf at the supermarket and……you keep walking.  YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO BREAK THEM DOWN, and it scares you.

Well, we are here to tell you, and show you, how easy it really is to cut up and clean up those big winter squashes so that you can prepare that healthy and tasty recipe.

You will need:

1 large cutting board, either plastic or wood (glass is not a cutting board- it is a serving platter), secured with a wet towel or paper towels to keep it from moving on the counter;

1 large chef’s knife, sharp;

1 squash;

1 kitchen spoon and bowl.

The hardest part about breaking down a large squash is keeping your fingers out of harm’s way while keeping the squash from moving on the counter.  If it works better for you, slice a small portion off the side of the squash, to make a flat spot.  This will keep it from rolling around on the board.

First, rinse off the squash under cool water.  Dry it off with a paper towel.

Slice the ends off of the squash to expose the meat.
Slice the ends off of the squash to expose the meat.

Second, slice off the ends of the squash.  This will expose the interior meat of the squash.  Using a sharp knife is key.  Don’t push straight down on the knife.  Let the blade of the knife do the hard work and rock the blade forward and back, like you are slicing.  If your squash is particularly big, use your other hand to secure the blade of the knife.  But be sure to put a kitchen towel between your hand and the blade in case you slip.  Stitches are NOT part of the recipe!

Turn the squash on end and slice in two.
Turn the squash on end and slice in two.

Third, turn the squash on end and cut in half.  If you are cutting a butternut, cut the squash where the bulb meets the neck.  It is easier to peel and deseed this way.

Fourth, for spaghetti, acorn and similar squash, remove the seeds using the edge of a kitchen spoon.  Discard the seeds.  For butternut, peel the thin skin using either a vegetable peeler or a knife.  Be careful not to remove too much of the meat with the skin.  Remove the seeds from the bulb as described and discard.

Remove the seeds from a spaghetti squash with a kitchen spoon.
Remove the seeds from a spaghetti squash with a kitchen spoon.
Peel the thin skin from a butternut squash using either a knife or a vegetable peeler. Remove the seeds from the bulb.
Peel the thin skin from a butternut squash using either a knife or a vegetable peeler. Remove the seeds from the bulb.

Next, for spaghetti and similar squashes, it is time to cook them.  There are several ways to do it, but the easiest and most basic is to steam them.  Lay them cut side down in a baking pan and add about 1/2 cup of water.  Cover with foil, bake at 375 until tender, about 30 minutes.  For butternut squash, dice the squash to desired size.  If you are using it in a soup, simply rough chop the squash into large pieces.  To roast and add to a salad or as a side dish, dice into smaller pieces.

Dice butternut squash to roast as a side or for a salad.
Dice butternut squash to roast as a side or for a salad.

So next time, don’t pass up that big pile of squash at the grocery store.  Be brave, and pick one out with few blemishes, and feels heavy for its size.  Then take it home and cut it up, because you know how now!  If you don’t use it right away, keep it in a cool dark place for up to several weeks.  But don’t wait too long, because you have a lot of delicious recipes to make!

Friend that Cooks personal chefs in Wichita, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha , Des Moines and Kansas City offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets. Learn more at http://www.friendthatcooks.com

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September News from Friend that Cooks

Just one week ago, I had one of the
most amazing experiences of my life.
I think I found what my heaven will look like! A few years ago, I heard about this field out near Lawrence, Kansas full of sunflowers. It took me a few years, but last week, I took my mom out for a visit. And it was breathtaking. As far as the eye can see… sunflowers! A million to be exact. I tried growing my own this year. They were from heirloom seeds, so the faces were smaller. But still a cool experiment.
As I watch the life cycle of the sunflowers in the field and how in just a week’s time the blooms have begun to fade, I am reminded of how short the seasons are. In just over a week, it will be officially Autumn. Where did the summer go?! I’m sure my mom-friends with school aged children do not agree, but I wish the summer could last just a little while longer. Of course, with all of the extra rain and mild temperatures we’ve had in the Midwest this year, I can say that. Maybe a few years ago I was begging for a day below 100 degrees by this time. But that was then and this is now… and I want it to stay summer forever!

So instead, I will cherish every last blueberry, the juice from a sun-warmed peach dripping down my chin and the tart bite of a perfectly ripened tomato just picked off the vine. I will load up on squash blossoms and stuff them with the best of the herbs from my garden, deliciously soft goat’s cheese and then fry them to golden perfection. And then eat them with a salad so I feel a little less guilty.

I will watch the sunset a few minutes earlier every evening and think fall will be here before we know it, and so will its produce. Don’t get me wrong, fall is great! It’s actually my favorite time of year. Butthis year, this summer… I’m not ready for it to end.

There is still plenty of late-summer produce at the farmer’s market, so stock up and savor it. Add some fresh corn to your salad. Toss cherry tomatoes in a hot skillet with a little olive oil or butter and sauté just until they burst, then top your steak. There are about 150 bazillion ways to eat zucchini, but how about shredding it and baking it in your oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it… it’s delicious!

Until next time.


Got Milk? It May Be Better To Not.
Some dietitians think that eliminating milk may lead to weight loss and other health benefits.

Check out this link to read more.

Cutting an onion can be tricky.
But you don’t have to cry about it.
Read about why it’s important to NOT refrigerate your onions, and how to slice them properly.

Use up the last of that beautiful basil and pick the last of the tomatoes.
Here is a tasty and easy recipe you can make for dinner tonight.

Basil Pesto Salmon Recipe


Some of you may be wondering who it is exactly that sends you this newsletter every month.

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Rebecca Nedrow and I am the Director of Operations for Friend that Cooks.

I didn’t start out in life loving food. I was just a regular girl in a regular Midwest town with regular working parents. We had dinner at the dinner table every night. And almost every night it was a meal made from scratch by my mother. Eating out was a luxury, and the extent of things that came out of a box or a can were macaroni and cheese or canned green beans. And those were usually saved for nights my older sister was babysitting. We ate what was on our plate. And if we didn’t, we saw it again later that week, because there was always a leftover night. My parents had a large garden when I was very young, but the only thing I actually remember was the strawberry patch. My mother would send me out to pick strawberries and I usually came back with more in my belly than in the bowl. I have since discovered that I am not blessed with a green thumb. I can’t grow a vegetable to save my life!

When I was older and tall enough to reach the stove top, I did begin to take an interest in baking. My mother’s chocolate chip cookie is one of my favorites to make to this day. But I will never forget the first time I was left on my own to make the recipe for a road trip we were taking, and I confused the teaspoon and tablespoon measures for actual teaspoons and cereal spoons. To say the least, they were awful! The cookies looked fine, but they were extremely salty. On the weekends, my younger brother and I would draw and color “breakfast in bed” menus for my parents. I would be in charge of the eggs. He would make the toast.

My real knack for cooking came in high school. There was one teacher at my school, Mrs. Salazar, that taught all of the cooking classes. I took one as a required credit and was hooked! I took every single class she offered, and had a blast! Science was my other favorite subject. So when it came time to pick a major for college, Dietetics was the logical choice. I went to Kansas State University and received my Bachelor’s in Dietetics.

My senior year, however, I decided I wanted to go to culinary school instead. I graduated, and then immediately enrolled in Johnson County Community College’s Culinary Art’s program. I got very lucky and was able to secure an apprenticeship at 40 Sardines with James Beard award winning Chefs Debbie Gold and Michael Smith. When I completed my degree at JCCC, I left for Charleston, South Carolina and worked at a restaurant called FIG with another James Beard award winning Chef Mike Lata. I have been very fortunate to work alongside some of the greatest chefs in the Kansas City and Charleston areas, and they have all influenced me and help to shape the kind chef I am today. When I left Charleston, I moved to Wichita, Kansas where I eventually found Friend that Cooks. After 2 years, I returned back to Kansas City to help owner Brandon O’Dell with the business, and we have been growing ever since.

My dietetics background not only influences the way I cook for myself and my clients, but it gives me the skills I need to be able to help our clients with special dietary needs and those that need help with specific diets. I take great joy in the fact that I am able to understand on a deeper level what our clients need and be able to work with them. The science of how and why food works in the body is a passion of mine, and I love explaining it to my clients and watch their eyes light up as they begin to understand too!

When I am not watching K-State football with my family at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, I am reading from my cookbook collection, hanging out in downtown Kansas City or following our professional local sports teams. I serve on two executive boards for my sorority’s alumnae group. I also have a dedicated yoga practice and enjoy helping my mom with her flower gardens every spring.


Connect With Us!

Friend That Cooks Personal Chefs
Kansas City: 913.660.0790 | www.kcmealprep.com | personalchefs@friendthatcooks.com
Wichita: 316.361.0823 | www.wichitamealprep.com | personalchefs@friendthatcooks.com
Chicago: 872.205.6068 | www.chicagomealprep.com | chicagochefs@friendthatcooks.com
St. Louis: 314.669.4593 | www.stlouismealprep.com | stlchefs@friendthatcooks.com
Omaha: 402.819.7916 | www.omahamealprep.com | omahachefs@friendthatcooks.com
Des Moines: 515.661.4592 | www.desmoinesmealprep.com | desmoineschefs@friendthatcooks.com
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What do Celiac Disease and Egg Yolks Have In Common?

For most celiac sufferes, going gluten free isn’t really a problem anymore.  With new products popping up on shelves everyday, it’s easy to find a suitable substitute for bead, pasta and other gluten containing ingredients. 

But what if you could take a pill to ease the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance and celiac disease?  One researcher may have found a way to do just that.

Check out this article and tell us what you think. 

http://www.gizmag.com/egg-yolk-celiac-gluten/38517/

Friend that Cooks personal chefs in Wichita, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha , Des Moines and Kansas City offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets.  Learn more at http://www.friendthatcooks.com

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Blueberry Vinaigrette

There are 4 important components to a good salad.  Texture. Color. Flavor.  Dressing. 

So what happens when you don’t have any dressing?  You make one.  6 ingredients, 2 minutes, and a blender is all it takes to make this tasty blueberry vinaigrette.  And it doubles as a sauce for pork and chicken! 

image
Blueberry vinaigrette

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (or a combination of mixed berries)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1.  Add berries, vinegar, salt, sugar and water to the blender.  Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. 
2.  Slowly stream in olive oil and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds. 
3.  Transfer to a storage container and clean out your blender. 

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Blend until emulsified

The easiest way to clean a blender is to rinse it out, fill half way with hot water and a dab of dish soap, and run the blender for about 20-30 seconds or until clean.  Rinse with clean water and air dry.  Works every time!

image
Cleaning the blender

Salad saved! 

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Spinach, roasted red beet, goat's cheese, red onion, bell pepper, blueberry vinaigrette

Friend that Cooks personal chefs in Wichita, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha , Des Moines and Kansas City offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets.  Learn more at http://www.friendthatcooks.com

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Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father’s day is this Sunday!  Have you thought about what to get your old man?  Well, if your dad is anything like mine, he probably already has an assortment of bad ties and every tool for every project ever made. 

So what do you get the man that already has everything?  Get him a gift certificate from Friend that Cooks for a steak dinner, or some grilling lessons if he’s a do-it-yourself kind of guy. 

Maybe he needs some new grilling gadgets.  Check out the line if grilling and smoking thermometers from Apple iGrill.  The Bluetooth technology makes checking the smoker and meat temperatures while watching the 8th straight hour of Muscle Car a cinch. 

No matter the gift, dad’s are just like moms.  What they really want is a quiet relaxing day spent with family and good friends.  Remember to tell your dad how much he means to you, and be sure to thank him for all he’s done for you.  It’s the best gift money can’t buy. 

               HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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Happy Father's Day
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Macadamia Coconut Halibut with Pineapple Pepper Quinoa

I just made this recipe up today.   And if I do say so myself, it was pretty great!

Part of what we do is use ingredients you already have in your fridge and pantry.  Today, my client had macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, quinoa and coconut milk.  The pineapple, macadamia nuts and coconut were an obvious combination.  But the orange bell pepper really made it different.  It took the dish from being too sweet, to being just right!  And who doesn’t love Halibut?!  It’s in season, so we can usually find it for a good price.  And we want to use it while we can get it fresh.  It’s a mild, white flaky flatfish found in the cold waters of the northern Pacific Ocean.  It goes well with anything, and can be prepared a zillion different ways.  Try it out this week for a different take on familiar favorites.

Don’t want to pay for Halibut?  Try using cod.  It’s just as flaky and mild.  Don’t know how to cut up a fresh pineapple? Use canned.  It’s ok, just make sure it’s packed in 100% pineapple juice instead of syrup.  Want to use different vegetables?  Go for it!  The bell pepper, zucchini and English peas spoke to me at the store.  But you can pretty much put just about anything in this and it will taste great!  To keep the recipe from blowing up in the pan, stick to just 3.  And go for a variety of colors for maximum nutrition.

For picky kiddos that don’t like veggies, cut them up extra small.  The quinoa and coconut milk will hide them and make them sweeter.  Kids don’t like their foods mixed?  Leave the veggies out and put them on their plate separately.

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Here’s the recipe. ENJOY!!

Macadamia Coconut Crusted Halibut, Pineapple Pepper Quinoa

Yields 2 servings

1/2 pound fresh English pea pods, shelled, or 1/4 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1/4 cup diced fresh pineapple, or more if desired

1/4 cup plain Macadamia nuts

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flake

10-12 oz fresh Halibut filet, skinned, cut into 2 (5-6 oz) portions

Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, ice water bath for peas

1. Preheat convection oven to 350 degrees.

2. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Season well with salt.

3. Shell pea pods and rinse peas under cold running water. Blanch in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove from boiling water and cool in ice bath. Discard salted water.

4. To prepare quinoa, in the same saucepan used for the peas, combine quinoa, broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and quinoa has sprouted. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the fish. In a food processor, combine the Macadamia nuts and coconut flakes. Pulse until it resemble course crumbles. Transfer to a small bowl and add about 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and combine to make a paste.

6. Transfer the fish to a prepared rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and cover with the coconut mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and fish is tender and flaky.

7. In a medium skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium high heat. Saute bell pepper and zucchini until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to the quinoa and stir to mix. Fold in about 2/3 of the cilantro, blanched English peas and diced pineapple.

8. To plate, add half of the quinoa and vegetables to the center of each plate. Top with the fish, and finish with a sprinkle of the remaining chopped cilantro, if desired.

(The vegetables used in this recipe can be substituted for almost any combination of vegetables desired.)

Friend that Cooks personal chefs in Wichita, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets. We send a talented chef to your home for a half day every week to shop, cook, clean up and stock your refrigerator with a week’s worth of healthy prepared meals to reheat. Learn more at http://www.friendthatcooks.com

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Friend that Cooks personal chefs in Wichita, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets.  Learn more at http://www.friendthatcooks.com