3 New or Unusual Foods Worth Trying

Break Free from the “same Old, Same Old”

Tired of the same food day in and day out? Looking to try something new? The traditional Western diet has a narrow scope when it comes to food variety. There are many other choices out there that make for exciting meals, sides, and snacks.

Quinoa

For when you want a grain but have had way too much rice recently, give quinoa a try. Quinoa dates back to Incan times and is packed full of helpful nutrients. In addition to being gluten-free, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete plant protein. It is also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. But the best thing about quinoa is that it’s a healthy food that tastes great! This grain is versatile and can be used in cold salads, hot meals, or eaten as a side dish. Quinoa also makes an appearance in many regional and ethnic recipes.

Vegetable nori rolls

Nori is often used in sushi, but if you hate sushi or don’t eat fish, you can still enjoy it. Nori, which are sheets of toasted seaweed, can be used to make rolls or wraps filled with rice and vegetables rather than fish. These little rolls are often served with some kind of dipping sauce and make a great appetizer or light lunch.

There are no rules as to what can be put in a vegetable nori roll, but some popular choices are chopped or pickled ginger, shredded cabbage, bits of carrot, asparagus, or sprouts along with sushi rice or another long-grain white rice.

Meatless chili

Though most Western versions are made with ground beef and beans, chili is actually quite a versatile dish. Vegetarians and vegans have been re-inventing chili with a variety of vegetables, beans, and meat substitutes for years. With a little creativity, chili can go from a greasy, heartburn-inducing nightmare to a healthy, filling dinner.

Hardcore omnivores might want to start with a recipe that uses vegetarian burger crumbles or textured vegetable protein, as these provide a “meaty” texture. Mixtures of beans are also very hearty. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you may wish to try a regional chili recipe with less traditional ingredients. Some vegetarian and vegan cookbooks even offer varieties with a little bit of sweetness from fruit, or “jerk-spiced” chili with a Jamaican flair.

Mixing up your daily or weekly food routine gives you a chance to try new flavor combinations that you may not have considered before. Making a chance from the “same old, same old” can also be healthy, as it broadens the scope of ingredients used and may introduce foods you haven’t yet tried. So the next time meatloaf is staring you in the face, why not aim for something more exciting?

Food Review: Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese

I have been on a quest recently to find a low calories healthy snack that I can keep on me at work. I am trying to follow the eating every two to three hour’s idea and I was looking for foods that work in this endeavor. I came across Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese. I was a little skeptical that something like cheese would still be tasty when it has less fat and calories. In the past I had tried other light cheeses only to have them leave a bitter after taste in my mouth. So I bought a bag of the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese and brought them to my office to see how they would be.

The nice part about the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese is that they are individually packed in single serving size. This takes the guesswork out of keeping the portion size correct on the string cheese. They were also easy to store in the office refrigerator. As anyone who has ever tried to cram a lunch bag into the office fridge can tell you, space is always at premium in there.

I grabbed two servings of the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese and headed to my desk. With the low calorie count per serving, I could enjoy two of these without any ill affects to my diet. The wrapper was much easier to open then other string cheese products that I had used in the past. The real test of this product would be in the taste.

The consistency of the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese was creamy and soft. This is just the way a good string cheese should be. The taste was not what I expected of a low calorie snack. If I had not looked at the wrapper, I would have though I was eating regular string cheese. The Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese was great. And the best part, no bad after taste. I was hooked.

I continue to use the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese along with a small serving of whole wheat crackers as my mid morning and mid afternoon snack. This fabulous tasting product leaves me feeling satisfied and ready to work.

The numbers on Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese

Per Serving Size

60 Calories

25 Calories from Fat

2.5g Total Fat

10mg Cholesterol

230mg Sodium

0g Dietary Fiber

0g Sugar

8g Proteins

Ingredients:

Light Low Moisture skim Mozzarella Cheese

All Dietary Information is from the Package of the Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese.

How to Make Great Mexican Food

Mexican Cooking Deconstructed

Americans love Mexican food. That much is obvious by the rapid increase in the number of Mexican restaurants that dot the country from the smallest rural burgs to bustling cities like Chicago and Atlanta.

When it comes to cooking Mexican meals, though, most Americans do little more than season and fry a pound of ground chuck, which they plop onto store-bought flour tortillas. That’s why so many Mexican restaurants are thriving with authentic Mexican dishes. Most folks simply don’t understand how to cook it or simply don’t bother to take the time.

Although most gringo cooks might never match their favorite restaurants’ enchiladas, it takes just a little time to learn to how make some traditional Mexican favorites, and the great part is that there’s money to be saved, too. 
With a few key lessons in Mexican cuisine, almost any dish is possible, from true authentic Mexican to American dishes turned into the talk of the office’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. So strap on your sombreros and ride along for a crash course in some savory dishes from down Mexico way.

It’s All About The Chiles

Authentic Mexican food has many nuances, but one of the most important is the use of chiles. Not to be confused with the American chili, the Super Bowl party food of choice, Mexican chiles add flavor and, many times, a great deal of heat to a host of dishes, many of them well-known as Mexican trademarks.

Chiles are featured in Mexican mole, the rich, chocolate-based sauces that cover enchiladas and in the packets of store-bought powder most folks use to season their taco meat. Chiles are also used heavily in salsas and are the main component in chile relleno, a dish featuring breaded, stuffed poblano chiles.

Essentially, almost every Mexican dish you find will have some component of the chile. If it doesn’t, it probably should. Leel free to experiment. But be careful. It pays to know your chiles. Some dish out a big dose of heat and can render an otherwise delicious meal almost inedible.

Chiles come in a variety of forms, from the fresh to the dried to the canned. Some are ground into spices. Each has its place in Mexican cuisine. As a general rule, the heat of a chile is determined by its size. Larger chiles, such as the poblano and Anaheim, have a milder flavor. The habanero, one of the smallest chiles available, packs a potency that can send a person running for the swimming pool.

The jalapeno is spicy, too, but it’s mild in comparison to the habanero. A smoked jalapeno, called a chipotle chile, packs a wallop, especially when it’s packed in a spicy sauced called adobo. Cans of chipotles in adobo sauce, available in most grocery stores, can make fire shoot out a person’s ears.

Chile seeds tend to pack a serious punch, too. Most chefs remove the seeds before cooking. Of course, one can’t remove every seed. Just do as well as possible without it becoming a hassle.

Experiment with chiles in different recipes. Start with a little and add more if necessary to reach the desired flavor and heat levels. Buy a jalapeno at the store and try it in your eggs. Throw some dried chiles into your next batch of chili. Dice some Anaheims and skewer them with chicken and onions for the grill.

Mole Isn’t A Rodent

It’s called mole, and it’s the Mexican equivalent of gravy. The sauce is used on a variety of Mexican dishes, and, like gravy, it varies as much as anything in Mexican cuisine. Generally, a good mole starts with a mixture of many spices and ground or diced chiles. Mole Poblano is the most common form of mole served at restaurants in the United States.

Along with chiles, mole features Mexican chocolate, which is a grainy variety of chocolate made from cocao, raw sugar and nuts. Seeds such as cumin seed and sesame seed are commonly used, as are ground nuts, typically almonds. Aromatics such as onion and garlic are other key ingredients. Moles are well-known for their rich, savory flavor and pleasant aroma. There are many twists on mole, with families passing down their own recipes from generation to generation.

Salsa

Salsa is by far the most Americanized of Mexican cuisines. It’s used as a topping on dishes and, most commonly, as a dip for tortilla chips. Mexican salsa, though, packs much more flavor than what most folks find in the little glass jars sold at the store. Generally, there can be as many types of salsa as the human mind can conceive. Most salsas, though, come in one of two varieties.

There is a tomato-based salsa and green salsa, or salsa verde. Tomato-based salsa is by far the most commonly used in the United States. It features cooked tomatoes mixed with fresh chiles, cilantro, garlic and other spices and vegetables. Some folks add corn. Others add black beans. Some even add diced fruit.

The other salsa, salsa verde, uses tomatillos, a more bitter, more rigid relative of the tomato. Tomatillos are green, and they generally must be cooked in much the same way that onions are cooked to soften them. Green chiles, onions, garlic and cilantro are used with other spices to finish off the salsa.

The Foods Allowed on the Mediterranan Diet

There are many health reasons that can be found for following the Mediterranean Diet, a diet that concentrates on the eating and cooking styles of Mediterranean Countries. Luckily, the diet is also easy to follow.

First, let’s look at the foods and the amounts of them that you can eat on the Mediterranean Diet:

Fruits and Vegetables:

You can eat all of these you want. They are filled antioxidants and promote a healthy heart.

The goal is to each 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables a day.

Fish:

Fish is filled with Omega 3 fatty acids and protein. This makes them extremely heart healthy.

The goal is to eat fish at least twice a week at a service of 3 ounces each.

Beans:

You can eat all the beans and all the varieties you want. They are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The goal is to eat one half to two thirds cup of cooked beans three times a week

Herbs and Spices:

Herbs and spices are great ways to season foods. Herbs and spices like: Rosemary, Omega, Thyme, bay leaves, basil, garlic and pepper are also encouraged on the Mediterranean Diet since they are filled with antioxidants.

The goal is to use as you wish.

Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are high in calories. However, they are also high in antioxidants.

The goal is to eat 1 to 1 and half ounces of nuts per day

Healthy Oils

Use monounsaturated oils such as olive, canola, sesame, walnut or peanut oil in your vegetables, pastas or on bread. Remember that one teaspoon of these oils have about 120 calories so used sparingly.

The goal is to eat 3 to 5 teaspoons a day.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains contain many vitamins, minerals and protein than their white counterparts do. For these reason experiment with different types of whole grain breads, cereals, etc.

The goal is to eat four one half cup servings daily.

Wine:

On the Mediterranean Diet, wine is considered a diet staple during meals. Wine may help reduce heart disease.

The goal is to keep the wine drinking to moderation which generally means one glass a day.

If you begin eating the allowed foods on the Mediterranean Diet at their suggested goals, you may soon find yourself enjoy many of the health benefits that goes along with this diet.

The 5 Best Foods that Keep You Feeling Full

Are you trying to maintain a healthy diet, but feel that you are either always snacking or always hungry? Then you need to take some time to closely evaluate the foods that are currently in your diet. Foods containing too many simple sugars do not keep you full long enough. In fact, studies also suggest that if you are not properly hydrated you may also feel hungry frequently. To combat this issue, I have tried many foods and here is my list of top 5 foods to keep you energized and feeling full all day long.

#1 – Yogurt Parfait – Chopped fruit layered with granola with nuts and Greek yogurt. The combination of protein from the nuts and yogurt along with the carbohydrates from the fruit are a nice treat to keep you filled.

#2 – Nuts – I personally love nuts so it is easy for me to keep these on me at all times. They are loaded with fiber and good fats so make sure you watch your servings and as always everything in moderations is best.

#3 – Whole Grain Cereal – I eat whole grain cereals for breakfast 3 times a week and 3 times a week for lunch. Yes you heard correctly, “LUNCH”. I add a half of a banana, pecans, dried cranberries or anything else to spruce it up. It certainly keeps you full.

#4 – Lentils – These are a good source of protein and with a tiny bit of rice it really helps keep you feeling filled. In addition, it is a comfort food on those cold days. So give them a try. You can season them as mildly or spicy as you like.

#5 – Edamame – The good old soy bean. It a source of much controversy but I like to believe that once again, moderation is the key to grabbing the best of anything. These pods can be steamed and then seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon. They are easy to prepare in the microwave and come frozen at most grocery stores. My daughter loves them in her salads. She thinks they are giant peas.

If you are looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle or shed a few pounds, consider adding any of the above foods to your daily diet.

Jewish Laws and Kosher Food

The laws of the Jewish, laws that are also known as the Halakha, have certain strict requirements for the food that is to be consumed and for this food, the word “kosher” means that these requirements have been met and the food is safe to eat. Kosher is usually used to refer to food that meets these requirements, but the word also pertains to other things. According to the Halakha, during the preparation of food, meat is not allowed to be mixed with dairy products of any sort and pork is very strictly forbidden by the Jewish law.

Before a manufacturer of food is allowed to sell their food products, labeled as a kosher food product, they are required to go through an inspection period where the food manufacturer is checked to make sure that the preparation of the food follows the Jewish law and is safe for people following the Halakha to eat. The preparation of kosher food cannot even be prepared using the same equipment that has been used to prepare non-kosher food, otherwise it is not considered kosher and is not safe to eat according to the Halakha.

People who follow the Jewish law do not find it safe to eat non-kosher food. It’s forbidden and they rely on the kosher symbol to let them know what food products they are allowed to eat without disobeying the requirements of the Halakha. It’s very important to them that the requirements are met, therefore kosher food is not labeled as kosher until it has been properly inspected and the letter of approval has been sent out, confirming that the food is, in fact kosher, and is safe to eat by people who follow the Jewish law.