Friday, September 9, 2016

Beat the heat with antioxidant-rich, hydrating Watermelon @JerseyFreshNJDA #GardenCuizine @KidsEatRight #healthykids

Cool off with a refreshing slice of

Our 7th heatwave continues here in New Jersey. The temperatures have been so hot and dry. Birds were thankful this morning when I refreshed their birdbaths. According to Rutgers NJ Weather, this summer has been the 4th warmest since 1895. Today's real feel temp is triple digits! Everywhere you look, lawns are crispy, shrubs and gardens are withering. We sure are desperate for rain. Even established trees are dying, with some actually falling over. This kind of heat makes me think about a few important reminders: 1) be environmentally responsible - never take water for granted and 2) don't let yourself dehydrate! 

The human body including our brain, heart, lungs and skin is primarily composed of water. Hot temperatures increase risk for dehydration; drink plenty of water. And, eat more Fruits and vegetables to contribute nutrients and water to the body. For example, WATERmelon contains 90% water. Strangely enough, watermelon grows really well in drought conditions like we've had this summer.

On my way home from work at Bridgeton this week, I stopped by Lima Family Farm-stand and spoke with farmer Jacob and his sister, Janice. He said, "it has been a great summer for melons" especially watermelon and cantaloupe. I decided to buy a whole watermelon with seeds rather than seedless. Janice and I think watermelon with seeds have better flavor. Which do you like better?

Watermelon nutrition benefits include: Vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants like citrulline, lycopene, beta carotene and Vitamin C. Fresh watermelons are still available at local farm markets!

Enjoy watermelon for a low calorie, refreshing snack.

Watermelon Nutrition Facts

Excellent Source: Vitamin C
Good Source: Vitamin A
1 cup diced Watermelon = 46 calories; total carbohydrates: 11.5g; dietary Fiber: 1g (2% DV); Vitamin A: 865 IU (17% DV); Vitamin C: 12.3 mg (21% DV); Potassium 170 mg (5% DV); plant sterols: 3 mg; Water 139g
Related Links
The Water in You
Watermelon Nutrition and Growing Tips 
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Chocolate Souffles #chocolatebliss @AliceMedrich #chocolate #dessert

Chocolate Souffles

It doesn't have to be Labor Day to whip up a batch of Bittersweet Chocolate Souffles. Go for it when you want to treat yourself and your family to chocolate bliss! The gluten-free recipe can be found in Alice Medrich's cookbook, Bittersweet

The recipe requires whipping egg whites so it is easiest to make batter that yields 6-8 ramekins. Chocolate souffles can be covered and refrigerated until ready to bake and serve. Allow 15-20 minutes to bake in preheated 375 deg. F oven.
I used three, 2-ounce bars of Guittard 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate and one 2.7 oz. pack of organic and sustainable, stone ground Taza Mexican style Vanilla. Both chocolate brands were available at Wholefoods.

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Chocolate Souffles: 1/8 recipe using Guittard and Taza chocolates 
For those of you dying to know the nutrition facts: one souffle serving is comparable to a chocolate donut in both calories and total fat: 273 calories per souffle serving vs 280 calories in a Dunkin chocolate covered donut. And, 14g total fat vs 15g total fat in a chocolate donut. Chocolate is high in saturated fat* and should be considered a treat. 

Since quality ingredients are used in baking a homemade souffle it's higher in protein (from the eggs) than a Dunkin donut: 17g vs 3g respectively. One chocolate souffle is lower in carbohydrates and higher in dietary fiber than a donut: 24g Carbs, 4 g dietary fiber vs 31g carbs and only 1g fiber in a donut. No matter how you look at the nutrition facts consider this as a special treat and enjoy in moderation.
Related Links
*Chocolate: Food of the Gods
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

@AliceMedrich Baking w/ bittersweet #chocolate for all American #LaborDaydesserts #GardenCuizine

What exactly is Bittersweet?

Many desserts call for Bittersweet chocolate,"What exactly is Bittersweet?" Harry asked me this morning as we discussed experimenting with a Chocolate Souffle recipe from Alice Medrich's Cookbook Bittersweet.

I first learned about the differences in chocolate from working in restaurants, bakeries and of course in culinary school at The Academy of Culinary Arts. Pastry chef Ann Marie Chelius taught me a lot about chocolate and how to work with it. 

Semisweet and bittersweet are types of sweetened dark chocolate. According to Alice Medrich, "The chocolate industry makes no distinction between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate." Bittersweet must contain a minimum of 35% percent of unsweetened chocolate liquor (cocoa butter and nonfat dry cocoa solids). Higher quality bitttersweet chocolate usually contains at least 50-55% more chocolate liquor making it a good choice for baking. 

Bittersweet chocolate is not just for professionals anymore. You can readily find baking chocolates with various percentages and blends of cocoa beans and other ingredients at chocolate shops, supermarkets and online. Most companies clearly label their bittersweet chocolates. Alice notes in her book that by the late 1980's more and more recipes called for bittersweet chocolate. The higher the percentage, the less sugar and the stronger the flavor. 

Unless you need smooth chocolate for making something specific like chocolate curls, truffles or ganache - Harry and I are sold on Sicilian chocolates! Sicilian chocolate is similar to Mexican chocolate. The mouth-feel and texture tastes granular from the sugar, but still melts in your mouth. Once you try Sicilian or Mexican chocolates you'll never go back to the waxy taste of smooth chocolate.

Today, we're going to try baking with Mexican chocolate (made in America) for an all American Labor Day dessert. We plan to buy some today if we can find it at Wholefoods. I will let you know and post the recipe if our chocolate souffles turn out.

Allow yourself to enjoy and savor the flavor of quality chocolate. You can still maintain a healthy body and body weight if you occasionally enjoy a food made with chocolate.

Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 29, 2016

#Adirondack #Hiking with Harry @CanoeRentals @VisitAdks @adklifemag @saranaclake #GardenCuizine

Adirondack Hiking with Harry
and Artist adventures 
Posting reflections on yet another fabulous summer vacation in the Adirondack Mountains with Harry. Between canoeing and hiking, we packed in lots of physical activity. And, this year we especially enjoyed meeting artists in Saranac Lake.
First things first: We drove to Racquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake and traded in our very heavy, red, 1993 Old Town canoe for a much lighter, mustard yellow, 16-foot kevlar, Adirondack We-no-nah canoe. After a trial paddle, Harry gracefully fell into the lake (he was okay) - that didn't stop us from buying the new canoe!

The Wenonah was not as stable in the water as our Old Town, but the trade-off for a lighter weight was important to us. We ended up canoeing more this vacation because the canoe was easier to get on and off our car. Thanks Anne and Casi!
almost at Cascade's summit
We got in a few hikes this vacation too. Our first warm-up, fun climb was Baxter Mountain (first photo). The second hike rewarded us with a 360 degree view at the top of Cascade Mountain - said to be one of the easiest Adirondack high peaks to climb (check out my video posted on Instagram). 
Cascade Mountain summit : 4.8 mile round trip : 4,098' elevation : Ascent 1,940'

There were a lot of people on Cascade's trail. Luckily we timed it later in the day and avoided groups and early bird hikers.
Jones Pond, Saranac Lake, NY
Besides hiking and canoeing, we always stop by an Adirondack Farmers Market - this time in Saranac Lakes. This year we also ventured away from the more touristy Lake Placid area and got to know and appreciate artists throughout Saranac Lake. 
Great Blue Heron - Jones Pond, Saranac Lake, NY
Along the scenic roadsides we drove past artists sitting or standing with their easels and painting. We later discovered their works displayed at The Adirondack Plein-Air festival, which we visited in Saranac Lake on our way home. Cynthia Rosen was among the many artists whose work we admired. We liked the texture and colorful art she created using oil paints and a palette knife. The festival attracted artists from around the country.

In Saranac we strolled in and out of galleries. We especially enjoyed meeting and touring Mark Kurtz's photography studio. He has taken many impressive photos for Adirondack Life Magazine. 
La Tartine Mediterranean (hummus, zucchini, peppers) at Left Bank Cafe, Saranac Lake, NY
Another highlight for us was lunch at the Left Bank Cafe. After lunch, we took a stroll around the block to check out a local garden center (...yes, I seem to have a built in honing device to find garden centers in any-town USA!!). And, just before the garden center we spotted an art studio tucked behind lots of pink echinacea and tall, cheery yellow sunflowers.  

We stopped in to browse and met Cris Winters, artist and owner of Art at the Pink House. Cris showed us her studio and the recent fiber creations she was making using botanical leaves and natural dyes on fabric. Click here to visit her blog and learn more about her art.

I'm sure some of you want to hear more about the Adirondack FOOD. We are foodies at home and when we go on vacation, I try not to take too many food photos; but we did take a few and we do have our favorite restaurants. How about you? If you visit the Adirondacks, where do you like to stay and what restaurants do you recommend? We know there is much more to discover.
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. 

@InspiraHN SNJ Today Hotline - Are egg whites healthier than yolks? @SNJToday @eatright @EatRight_NJ

Recap of my interview 
with Jim on SNJ Today!
Our nutrition conversation covered everything from adult obesity and Bariatric surgery and obesity-related diseases such as high cholesterol and diabetes. We talked about pediatric obesity, excess sugar and portion distortion. I didn't know in advance what we would be discussing. To view our interview click here or on the link posted above. I thought I'd share an at-a-glance recap for my family, friends and anyone interested.

Jim opened our discussion with his personal interest in Inspira's Bariatric Weight Loss Program with the cliche: “You are What You Eat". I added, “You are Where You Eat” since so many of us do eat out. And, food choices are greatly influenced by our environment.

Portion control and selections are key: Some selections are high in calories and sugar and can lead to obesity.

Calories posted in restaurants: Jim asked “Do we have a mandate for that in NJ?” My response was "No". Chain restaurants with over 20 locations have to post their nutrition facts. Many restaurants do have the info available. Just Google the restaurant and look up nutrition facts of their menu items.

Distorted portions today: Larger portions = excess calories and energy.

US Obesity Rates: Jim asked if 2/3’s of people are overweight? Yes, as of 6 years ago more than 2/3's of people in the US were overweight according to the NIH. I'm sure that statistic is even higher now. And, even more concerning is the number of severely obese people, which has quadrupled in the past 30 years according to the Robert Wood Johnson State of Obesity 2014 Report.

Despite a slight improvement, I pointed out that NJ still has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation for low income children ages 2-5. And, I should have mentioned that health outcomes are the worst in the state of NJ in Salem and Cumberland counties.

We touched on the fact that increased diabetes in our nation is a serious concern. And that obesity may contribute to diabetes and other diseases including cancer according to science. I mentioned my belief in “health at every size”, but acknowledge that statistics show increased diseases linked to obesity. 

Jim asked, "What would be a good 3 meals?" My response was that it depends on the individual. Dietitian recommendations are often centered on MyPlate food groups. Visit for more information about meal planning in both English and Spanish.

Most popular vegetables in the US: #1 Potatoes, #2 Tomatoes, #3 Onions, #4 Head Lettuce, #5 Sweet Corn, #6 Romaine and Leaf Lettuce, #7 Chili Peppers.

South Jersey locations for outpatient Nutrition Counseling at Inspira: Bridgeton, Vineland, Elmer and Woodbury.

Foods to lose weight: Eat more vegetables! Salads help. Downfall is that creamy types (Ranch, Thousand Island, etc.) salad dressings can be high in fat and calories. Creamy salad dressings can be used sparingly or thinned with water. Oil and vinaigrette salad dressings are generally healthy.

Jim enjoys Wendy’s berry salad…"~360 calories". He feels it is a good selection. After our interview I looked it up. And, it looks like it's a Wendy's summer special. I didn't see it on their regular menu selections. If I selected the right nutrition facts - it looks like their Summer Berry Chicken Salad has 380 calories (not including any salad dressing) so Jim was pretty accurate. Saturated fat: 3.5g (they don't include percent daily values %DV so it is not so easy for the average person to tell if 3.5g is high or low. It happens to be 18%DV; 20% is considered high). Sodium: 980 mg (without any dressing). The average persons daily sodium recommendations is no more than 2,300 mg/day. 980 mg is very high sodium.

I encouraged Jim and listeners to Read nutrition facts labels for food choices eaten out. Then, you can determine if it is a good selection depending on your needs. Some healthy sounding items can be deceiving.

People in southern NJ get bombarded with fast foods and advertising. Fast food restaurants are more prevalent from Burlington County down into South Jersey. 

We also talked about High Cholesterol: avoiding saturated fatty foods – and that dietary cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but we should still be mindful of not eating excess from saturated fats.

Many people still believe egg whites are healthier than yolks… I explained that you “...don’t have to leave out the yolks out anymore”. Yolks provide vitamin D, choline and other important nutrients. There is not enough scientific evidence suggesting that dietary cholesterol increases serum cholesterol according to the panel of experts involved with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Jim brought up bariatric surgery again and shared that he has tried every diet in the world. Surgery should indeed be a last resort or be medically necessary.

I pointed out that surgery can be a tool for weight loss; dietitians encourage the importance of diet and lifestyle changes in order to keep the weight off. There can be weight regain after any type of bariatric surgery, especially if food preferences are not improved. Post-op support groups can be helpful.

We concluded with a brief discussion of other Inspira Health Network Connections that included The Family Success Center Vineland, which is where my main office is located. 

I encouraged listeners to look on Inspira’s website to learn more about Inspira's programs and any upcoming community events like our Superfood Nutrition Bingo and Healthy Cooking Classes.


Related Articles
You Asked: Are Egg Yolks Unhealthy?
Harvard School of Public Health - Types of Fat 
FDA Calorie Labeling on Restaurant Menus
Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Today in Our Summer Garden @birdsblooms #GardenCuizine #butterflies #gardenchat

Today in Our Jersey Summer Garden
August harvest
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)

South Jersey caners have been busy canning tomatoes and sauce already.
We're about ready to join the fun. Our San Marzano's are beginning to ripen even though they are shaded somewhat beneath passion flower vines.  

Even without the San Marzano's, we finally have enough tomatoes to make our first pot of pasta sauce this weekend! We plan to use some of our heirlooms too: Cherokee Purple and Goldman's. 

Other veggies, herbs, harvests and updates in our garden include:
  • Italian Parsley (huge and blooming now too!)
  • heirloom Chocolate Cherry tomatoes
  • very small, current type, French tomatoes: Leslie's Petit Moineau
  • Rutgers Select
  • Pattypan Squash - picked one HUGE one so far (shown) - we plan on cooking it tonight
  • Oregano (let air dry and store in spice jars)
  • no onions this summer!! they were a bust
  • didn't see many grapes either this year... have to go look again 
  • Cow peas and Franchi Fagiolo Rampicante Anellino giallo climbing yellow French beans are coming along...
    Backyard birds and blooms have been spectacular. Hummingbirds are out in force, buzzing about. We have several water sources and native plants that attract lots of wildlife. 
    We could use some rain. This morning, chattering catbirds enjoyed cooling off under the garden sprinkler while perching on willow branches.
    In our garden, Bronze fennel gets it's own raised bed - just because we like it and so do cool looking caterpillars. They munch on the leaves to provide energy to turn into a chrysalis and then into beautiful butterflies like Black Swallowtails.
    Every garden needs a few unusual plants. This summer my favorites have been Fragrant Gladiolas (Peacock Orchid), Passion flower blooms/fruit and blooms on our Peanut Butter shrub in our beloved dog Aspen's memorial garden. The PB shrub has been growing for about 3 years and finally decided to bloom for us this summer!
    The PB shrub is really more like a small tree and doesn't look at all like a shrub. I was told the blooms would be a favorite for hummingbirds. And, friends from Dave's Garden were right! I've been watching hummingbirds (and butterflies) loving it. The blooms remind me of an azalea blossom.

    Happy Gardening!
    Photos and Blog post Copright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Friday, July 22, 2016

    The BEST tasting summer dressing for greens! #SesameTahini #GardenCuizine

    Summer Sesame 
    Tahini Dressing

    This dressing will get anyone to enjoy superfoods such as kale greens! It was inspired by Michele's Sesame Tahini Salad Dressing that we sold so much of, and used when we had our restaurant: Garden of Eden Natural Foods and Country Kitchen Inc

    4 Tablespoons Sesame Tahini
    1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
    2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1/8 teaspoon lite soy sauce
    1/8 teaspoon hot sesame oil
    1/4 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast*
    1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    pinch onion powder

    Putting it all together

    Combine all ingredients. Mix together with a small whisk.

    Serve over your favorite salad greens, kale, chicken, tofu or fish.


    *Nutritional Yeast adds Vitamin B12 and fabulous flavor to foods! You can find it at supermarkets such as ShopRite.

    GardenCuizine Nutrition data: coming soon - check back!

    Recipe and photo Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.

    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    Quick Summer Slaw #cabbage #GardenCuizine #HealthyColeslaw #recipe

    Quick Summer Slaw
    High in Vitamin C 
    Visit your local farmer's market during the summer for great prices on veggies. Yesterday, we picked up a few heads of locally grown cabbage for under $5.00 at our local farmer's market. This recipe only uses half the whole green cabbage and a small portion of the red cabbage, leaving the rest to use for other recipes. Who says you can't eat healthy on a budget?

    Summer coleslaw is healthy and affordable and makes a great side dish for summer BBQ's and family summer meals. We enjoyed this homemade coleslaw with fried Flounder and brown rice! We have plenty of leftovers for sides with lunch and for toppings on sandwiches.

    Yields 2 lbs Coleslaw

    16, 2-ounce servings
    8 cups (712g) green Cabbage, shredded
    1 cup (89g) Red Cabbage, thinly sliced

    1/2 carrot (30g), peeled and thinly sliced
    1/2 cup lite mayo (60g) (for vegan, use soy mayo)

    1/4 cup (56g) plain Greek yogurt (or soy yogurt)
    2 Tablespoons capers (18g) (optional)
    2 Tablespoons pickle or caper juice
    2 Tablespoons (10g) apple cider vinegar
    1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
    2 teaspoons sugar (8g) (don't freak out about using real sugar! remember this makes many servings and 2 teaspoons is only 8 grams of sugar)
    1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
    pinch ground black pepper
    Putting it all together
    • Wash cabbage and pull off outer leaves. Cut green cabbage in half. Put away and save one of the halves for use in other recipes. Cut half of the cabbage into wedges around the core. To save time, I used a food processor for chopping some of the cabbage wedges; be careful not to over chop. Thinly slice remaining green cabbage. Total shredded green cabbage should be about 8 cups. Place in a large mixing bowl.
    • Cut a small piece off the red cabbage. thinly slice 1cup and add to green cabbage bowl. Store the rest to add color to salads and for use in other recipes.
    • Wash and peel one carrot. Cut in half and thinly slice. Add to the cabbage bowl. Eat the other carrot half or save for other recipes.
    • Add the mayo and remaining ingredients and toss until well blended. cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
    Buon Appetito!

    GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Summer Slaw: 2-ounce serving (~62g)
    Diabetic Friendly: 3g net carbs 
    Excellent Source: Vitamin C
    Store bought coleslaw: higher in saturated fat and calories; often contains corn syrup and preservatives vs Homemade: only 31 calories, Total Fat: 1g; Saturated and Trans fats: 0g; Cholesterol: 2mg; Sodium 111mg (5% DV); Total Carbohydrate 4g; Dietary Fiber: 1g (5% DV); Sugars 2g; Protein 1g; Vitamin A: 457 IU (9% DV); Vitamin C: 19.9 mg (33% DV)

    Related Links
    Cabbage Health Benefits

    Photos and recipe Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    Summer Kale Cooler! #GardenCuizine #nutritious #smoothie #proteinshake #healthysnack

    Summer Kale Cooler
    Vanilla - Peach - Kale
    yields 3-4 servings
    ~36 ounces total

    1 2/3 cups (almost 2 cups) Very Vanilla Soy Milk
    2 scoops Whey Protein Powder - vanilla

    1 banana
    1 large leaf kale; washed, stem removed
    2-3 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
    8 ice cubes
    Putting it all together
    Peel banana. Wash and pit peach. Add all ingredients to a blender. 
    Blend until well mixed. 
    Pour into serving glasses and enjoy!

    GardenCuizine Nutrition Data: coming soon - check back!
    Photos and recipe Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.