Strawberry and Lime Soda- EZ Party hit!

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As we were looking into sources of iodine – an essential mineral key to thyroid function – strawberries (after sea vegetables and a couple of others) were high on the list. Hence with a nod to health, we present this delicious strawberry and lime soda, from chef Justin Everett of Cavallo Point. Of course a handful, of organic-fresh-from-the-garden berries would be healthier -but not nearly as much fun!

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
10 fresh strawberries
5 limes, juiced and zested
1K liter of soda water
Ice

Directions:

In a medium-size pot, combine the water and sugar and heat until it boils. This becomes a simple syrup. Remove the syrup from the pot and cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, dice the strawberries into a large pitcher. Next zest the limes over the strawberries then squeeze all of the juice from the limes and add it to the pitcher. To finish, add the soda water and ice to the lime-and-strawberry mixture, then add syrup until you reach the desired sweetness. Stir well, and serve.

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Iodine: The EZ Way!

Somehow iodine iodine iodine has become the topic du jour around the lunch table at work. No big mystery as one of our friends is having a thyroid issue, which then created a sudden interest eating foods rich in iodine – the trace mineral essential in thyroid function. (And of course it’s touted as the first line of defense against the nuclear radiation fall out from last year’s tsunami in Japan.) Since, we don’t want to accidentally OD by taking tablets, like some people do. We set out to find the best dietary sources.

Duh! turns out iodized salt is a pretty easy thing to do… thanks Joseph A. Case for your detail-rich article.

And as it turns out seafood is naturally rich in iodine, including; cod, sea bass, haddock and perch. Kelp (one serving of kelp offers 4 times more than a daily minimum requirement) is the most common iodine-rich green source, while dairy products and plants grown in iodine-rich soil can provide a bit of this nutrient  … we digress.

Keep it simple by snacking on it! While those Trader Joe’s seaweed snacks are pretty good – if you can find Seasnax dried seaweed (Whole Foods, some health food stores, online) … these seem to score a bit higher w/ the online health brigade because they use olive oil -not canola oil in the process. And according to their website, on average, 15 micrograms of iodine can be found in a full sheet of nori.

Just not into food from the sea? Here is a chart from The World’s Healthiest Foods on what they consider to be great sources of iodine.

Did we miss your favorite iodine-rich snack or meal? Please share in our comments.

Weekend Skinny Mojito Recipe

Just in time for the summer season our favorite ex-housewife Bethenny Frankel unveiled a skinny mojito recipe that’s just as good as the original but replaces the sugar with honey. Plus—as a drink choice mojitos do double-duty—they are packed with vitamins. A single lime gives you 32 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs and half a cup of mint provides about a third of your Vitamin C needs and 2 grams of fiber.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. gently warmed honey
  • 2 oz. clear rum
  • 4 oz. club soda
  • mint and lime for garnish

Preparation

  1. With a long spoon or a pestle (from your guac-making mortar and pestle collection) muddle 1/2 fresh lime cut into six wedges in a martini shaker.
  2. Add 1 cup ice and 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice.
  3. Combine 1/2 tsp. gently warmed honey, 2 oz. clear rum and 4 oz. club soda. Add this combination to muddled mixture.
  4. Stir all the ingredients together with your long spoon until they get cold. Strain the beverage into a glass filled with ice.

Small Changes for a Big Healthy Impact

You don’t have to spend hours at the CrossFit gym or sweat every morning in your Bikram class to make a dramatic healthy lifestyle shift.  We’ve got three healthy eating tips you can include in your routine to make a big impact — this weekend!

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Yes, this isn’t revolutionary news — we all know it’s important to eat breakfast but why? If you diet first thing in the morning chances are you will overeat later in the day, says fitness guru and fitness author Jim Karas. Also, your ability to burn calories is kickstarted with that first meal.

Eat Right

We’ve all been there — you’ve eaten a huge sushi dinner and just an hour later you’re starving. Instead of reaching for dessert reach for a low-calorie, high-water-content snack like sliced veggies or a whole wheat wrap with hummus, peppers and turkey.

Keep it Clean

Avoid mystery foods like the all you can eat buffet or a chain restaurant’s pasta dinner — unless you’re making the food at home. It’s impossible to know just how much oil or even lard (shocking, yes — we have a summer restaurant job to thank for that info) is used in the recipes. If you are eating out choose plain proteins like a 6 ounce petite filet (about 11.2 grams of fat) or salad with no cheese, packed with veggies and dressing on the side.

But it is the weekend, so if all else fails — indulge in a low-calorie cocktail like this 169 calorie skinny cantaloupe margarita.

Be the BBQ Star: Make Your Own Chips!

Heading to a barbecue this weekend? Why not dazzle the others with a batch of your homemade potato chips. According to chef Justin Everett of Murray Circle at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, it’s easy! Here’s his recipe.

Fresh Kennebec Chips

Ingredients:
3 quarts of peanut or vegetable oil
5 each kennebec or yukon gold potatoes salt

Directions:
1 place oil in a large pot and turn on medium heat. heat to 350°f. 2 clean the skin of the potatoes with warm water and a brush. slice the potatoes width- wise very thin with a sharp knife or a mandolin into warm water. 3 once all the potatoes are sliced, they can be removed from the water and placed on a sheet tray lined with paper towels. set up another sheet tray lined with paper towels; this is for the potato chips to land after they come out of the oil. 4 once everything is set and the oil is at 350°f, test out one chip by placing it in the oil. The oil should bubble gently and the chip should float to the top. 5 Gently fry the chips 8 or 9 at a time until golden brown. 6 remove the chips from the oil and place on the clean paper towels; salt to taste.

Let us know if you make ’em… now we just need the ultimate dip recipe 😉

Rainy Spring Recipe: Chocolate Matcha Coconut Tea

Image by sdshaffer via flickr.

We’re close to the summer solstice (June 20, 2012) but in typical spring fashion it’s raining here in California! What better way to get cozy than with our “enhanced” version of the traditional hot chocolate? Read on for the easy recipe — and we couldn’t resist a little trivia: The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayans around 2000 years ago!

Ingredients:

4 Cups Water

1 Tsp. Ground Matcha Tea

2 spoonfuls of Palm Sugar

2/3 cup Light Coconut Milk

3 spoonfuls of grated Dark Chocolate (from a bar)

1. Heat first four ingredients over stop-top (do NOT bring to a boil) and constantly stir.

2. Melt grated chocolate in microwave (only heat every 10 seconds and take out to stir, until perfectly smooth).

3. Add melted chocolate to stove top mixture.

4. Make sure the mix is cool enough to drink and pour into mug.

5. For Adults Wanting to Imbibe – add a bit of the optional ingredient: Tuaca Liquer

Thomas Keller’s Lobster Roll Recipe

Unfortunately the French Laundry isn’t quite in our every-day restaurant budget, which is why we love Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and French Laundry Cookbook. We have to admit—most of the recipes in this two-tome collection are a bit over-the-top (even with the step-by-step instructions they can be overwhelming). But the traditional lobster roll (with no cooking actually needed) was ideal for a first attempt. The recipe was easy, turned out fantastic and took less than 20 minutes to put together—but beware—precooked lobster is pricy so look for special promotions (like we did) before scheduling this meal into your routine.

What you’ll need:

1.5 pounds of cooked lobster meat (call around for the best price and availability)

3 tablespoons of mayo (we used reduced-fat and 2.5 tablespoons would have been better)

2 tablespoons of minced red onion

2 tablespoons of chopped celery (you could double this to add extra crunch)

2 teaspoons of finely chopped tarragon

2 teaspoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (make sure you get the right type of parsley, there is a difference!)

2 teaspoons of finely chopped chives

little salt, little pepper

1/2 lime squeeze

6 hot dog buns (the really soft, oversized kind)

Some butter lettuce leaves

To prepare:

Make sure the lobster is in quarter-sized chunks. Place in a large bowl and add in all the ingredients. Place in fridge while you are preparing the buns.

For the buns, cut in half and slice the outsides to they are flat. Butter and place on pan to grill the buns. Open up, place butter leaf lettuce pieces and then top with lobster meat.

We added sweet potato fries (frozen from Whole Foods), which were a pretty addition to the plate, and a great source of vitamin A.

Makes six rolls at a cost of about $10 per roll—it’s not the cheapest meal, so save for a special occasion like a spring dinner party.

Cocktail Chatter: Livers Love Moderation

Susan Sermoneta

Moderate your alcohol intake. We’re not saying don’t drink, just don’t over do it. And here’s why…

From the lips to the brain, alcohol is absorbed in under five minutes.  Though alcohol affects every organ of the body, it’s most dramatic impact is on the liver. The liver cells normally prefer fatty acids as fuel, and package excess fatty acids as triglycerides, which they then route to other tissues of the body.  However, when alcohol is present, the liver cells are forced to first metabolize the alcohol, letting the fatty acids accumulate, sometimes in huge amounts. Alcohol metabolism permanently changes liver cell structure, which impairs the liver’s ability to metabolize fats.

Thankgsiving tips from an uber chef!

Yikes.. Thanksgiving is coming up too fast for us. If you don’t have your recipes figured out yet – check out what pro -Michael Mina is doing at his house.

Anyone who has hosted a Thanksgiving dinner can agree– it is a day of moving parts. The guests; some familiar, some new such as uncle Bob’s latest girlfriend.  The ‘traditional’ side dishes can include many forms of potatoes, something made with jello and cranberries fresh or from a can. And then the turkey –breast side up or down?  Last month, in preparation for Marin Magazine’s November issue I was lucky enough to visit the Mina family in their new West Marin home and watch uber chef, Michael Mina, along with a few of his top chefs, prepare a table full of mouthwatering dishes with the help of his sons Anthony and Sammy and wife Diane.

To ensure a day of ease and glasses always full, Diane shares her hosting tips.

Mina shares six of his recipes including my favorite three.

Brussels Sprouts

Marin Chicory Salad

Olive oil crushed potatoes

And finally center piece of the evening… the Turkey!  While I was there I took a very C- video of chef Mina explaining the process.

Michael Mina’s Three Things Not to Forget for Making the Perfect Turkey
1 Preheat your oven.
2 Season (or brine) generously.
3 For really nice crispy skin, leave the turkey uncovered in the refrigerator two days prior to cooking to let the skin dry out.

Not sure what to make for dinner? Try these tasty low cal meals.

I loved this helpful article by Food & Wine editor, Kristin Donnelly featuring recipes for under 600 calories including wine! Here’s her intro:

While living in Paris, I performed an unintentional experiment with the French paradox: I ate cheese, pâté and bread almost daily but still lost 10 pounds. Walking miles along the Seine helped, but I’d also started eating the French way: smaller portions of better-tasting food, often with wine. Drinking wine isn’t necessarily the key to losing weight, but as countless studies have shown, a glass-a-day habit can increase your life span. Now I live in New York City but still eat the French way, with low calorie, wine-friendly dishes like the ones here—runny eggs baked over mushrooms and spinach, for instance, and a root-vegetable salad with sliced beef. Add a five-ounce glass of wine (at 110 to 130 calories) and the total calorie count is still under 600. And sometimes, there’s enough wiggle room for cheese.

Speaking of great low cal meals – we wanted to share our FAVORITE salad of the summer –and if your wondering what to make for dinner -and can stop by a Whole Foods on the way home – you will love this super healthy asian cabbage salad. This is from our friend Karyn – who doesn’t remember where she got it –we apologize if we’ve taken someone’s recipe without giving credit. 😉

Cabbage Salad

2  16 oz bags of shredded cabbage (the one at Whole Foods was called Angel Hair Coleslaw – Green Cabbage)
1 cup slivered almonds – toast them in a pan –  you do not need any oil etc.
8 tbsp of sesame seeds – also toast them in a pan with no oil – (I toast them together with the almonds)
1 bunch (usually 6-8 pieces) scallions – chopped
the dressing for the salad
1/2 cup canola oil
7 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
(mix dressing ingredients together and toss with cabbage, almonds, sesame seeds and scallions)