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Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

chick peasIt’s possible to eat chickpeas  for breakfast, lunch and dinner in homes and restaurants across the globe.  Easy to grow  and packed  with vitamins and protein, chickpeas deliver delicious  nutrition for practically pennies.

A Nutritional Profile to Brag About

To put  it in technical terms, chickpeas rock! One half cup of cooked chickpeas  clock in at about 160 calories and 9 grams of almost fat-free protein.  While it has about 30 grams of carbs equal to two slices of bread,   chickpeas contains enzymes  that limit blood sugar spikes  associated with other carbs.

That same 1/2 cup of chickpeas also includes zinc, folates and 8 grams of fiber– about 20% of recommended daily intake.   But wait there’s more.   That little   serving of  chickpeas   has 50 grams of calcium.  Nice.  Since studies have  shown that a high protein/ low fat diet is associated with fewer wrinkles, I think that chickpeas  have earned the right to be called a beauty food.

These days its hard to pick up a cookbook or menu and not find  a dish that uses  chickpeas.   In an Indian restaurant chick peas are ground into flour called besan and is used for crepe like pancakes  dosa or fried into  balls called pakora.  In fact throughout Southeast Asia, chickpeas   in stews, snacks and batters are the major source of protein in the meal. In Spain they are added to stews and salads  while in the Middle East  they are ground up into hummus,  fried as falafel and added to couscous platters.

There  is  certainly no shortage of great chickpea recipes, but there is  a lack of  good tasting nutrition packed snacks.  Here is my new favorite adapted from SteamyKitchen.com.

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:  one 15 ounce can chickpeas ( aka garbanzo beans), 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and onion powder to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F.  Drain the can of chickpea,s rinse in a strainer  under running water and shake well to remove  excess moisture. Place two layers of paper towels on a baking sheet, spread out beans to a single layer  and top with more paper towels.  Roll the beans around  with the paper towels to  both dry them and remove the thin skins of the beans.  Remove the paper towels and loose skins, but  keep the chickpeas on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle olive oil over beans and massage  them with your hands to coat  them evenly with oil. Roast for 35 minutes until beans are deep golden brown and crunchy.  Remove tray from oven and  sprinkle with sea salt and onion powder to taste.  Serve warm.

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I like mussels and I was  so psyched to learn how much of a nutritional punch they packed.  One 3 ounce serving of shelled mussels contains  an entire daily supply of selenium and 3X  the RDA for vitamin B12.  But wait there’s  more .  That little serving  offers 10 grams of  protein at a mere 70 calories and mussels  have less cholesterol than  any other shellfish.  And I’ve saved the best for last–  3 ounces of mussels  have almost a gram of those anti-aging omega-3 fatty acids–  2-3x the amount of  most  fish including sole, haibut, cod, shrimp and clams.    And then there is the price.  Mussels are  just about the most affordable of all fish, currently just $3.99/lb at the new Fairway that just opened in my hood. 

Mussels can be steamed in a seasoned  broth, added to soups or served  over pasta.  They are really simple to cook, but there are a few things you should know before you start:

1. Make sure that the shells are closed and intact when you buy them. Broken and/or open  shells can mean that the mussel is dead-  and dead mussels can  make  you sick.

2. Buy about 3/4 pound of mussels  per serving

3. When you get them home, rinse  them off  in cool water, gently transfer to a deep bowl, cover with plastic wrap and poke about a dozen air holes in the plastic.  This will allow them to breathe so they won’t die  before you will cook them that night.

Here’s a super easy recipe that I adapted from “Barefoot in Paris”  by Ina Garten.  In addition to the mussels, its packed with  antioxidants from olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes and wine.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of mussels

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup canned plum tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup parsley

1 cup white wine

Directions:

1. Heat  olive oil in a large pot  and saute  onions for 5 minutes.  Then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes

2.  Add the tomatoes, parsley,  wine and a few turns of freshly grated black pepper.

3.  Add mussels, stir, cover pot and cook for 8 minutes– until all the mussels have opened.  ( toss  any that remain shut).  Pour the mussels and that incredible broth into bowls  and serve with a big chunk of  whole wheat italian bread.  Serves two hungry people.  How easy it that?

Note:  There is no added  salt to the recipe.  Mussels in their natural state have  about 250 mg of sodium  per serving —  more than enough to flavor it and just about the limit for a healthy serving.

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You  see antioxidants advertised  in practically everything from baby cereal to low-carb beer.  Some experts believe that  antioxidants can prevent cancer,  heart disease and aging.  Other scientists are  rather dubious about the health benefits of antioxidants.  As with  most things in life– the truth  lies somewhere in between.

Antioxidants    have the ability to subdue unstable molecules known as free- radicals.  These bad boys  are molecules that have lost an electron. Free radicals crash around cells interferring with routinue functions such as growth, repair and immunity. Things calm down when  antioxidants  provide the missing electron.

There is no shortage  of antioxidants in  our environment. The short list  of antioxidant- rich items  include   vitamins A, C and E, olive oil, salmon, green tea, red wine tumeric and sunflower seeds. We have lots of  laboratory studies that show anti0xidants can protect cells from free- radicals.  In real life  the results are not so clear.  While  we can  see that people whose diets are high in antioxidant rich food have a lower risk of cancer and heart disease, when we take  antioxidant supplements, the benefits are just not there.

But, and this is a very big but, one area where  antioxidants perform well is on the skin.  Antioxidants from green tea, soy oats  and tumeric  can protect the skin  from sun damage.  Antioxidants in skin care products have  products  have been shown to reduce  sunburn and DNA damage from sun exposure.  Antioxidant  rich sunscreens not only reduce  risk of skin cancer, it may protect against  sun-related aging.  Since about 90% of skin aging under age 60 is due to sun exposure, this is huge!   Moisturizers, sunscreens, and make-up  can all benefit from antioxidants.

On Friday I will be posting my Summer Beauty Tool Kit and not surprisingly, antioxidants will have a starring role.

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