Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thinking About Slowly Going Meatless?

Without a doubt, eating right is a very important component of taking care of yourself to help keep diseases at bay.  Some of you may even want to start learning towards a vegetarian or meatless manner of eating. The good news is this...the time to start is right now. No need to wait. No need to wait for Monday to roll around to eat meatless. Start today or tomorrow.  No need to wait for January 1 to roll around in order to start eating more plant based.

Certainly for some people, if just practicing one day a week of eating meatless is where you want to start for a few weeks or even a few months, then choose the day of the week that you would want to celebrate that meatless day on a regular basis.  Or guess what?  Why not rotate the days of the week for that one day of the week to go meatless.  Make this decision more tailored made for you.  Don't go with a fad.  The more you make this decision to go meatless on your own reasonable terms, this will enable you to create a more solid foundation to work off of.  When this solid foundation is established, you will then be able to move on and make other permanent healthy changes. However, if going meatless one day a week to start off with works best for you on a Monday and it's easier for you to remember, then by all means...go for it! The bottom line is this, don't put off making small changes to contribute to the healthier 2013 you!

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What new healthy nutrition habit to do you want to adopt for the upcoming new year?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recipe Redux: Chinese Fried Rice

The theme for this month's Recipe Redux is "Vintage Side Dishes".  Being of an Asian descent, I grew up eating a lot of rice and continue to love eating rice every day! So from an old vegetarian cookbook from 1971 called "Vegetarian Cookery 5", I chose to "redux" a recipe called "Chinese Fried Rice". I actually "reduxed" and "maximized" this recipe.  I reduced the sodium content by using Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  Saturated fat content was reduced by using Trader Joe's liquid egg whites.  Fiber was maximized by using brown rice instead of white rice and adding more vegetables.  This is very easy to prepare!

Ingredients:
2/3 cup of egg substitute (in this case I used Trader Joe's Liquid Egg Whites)
1 cup of cooked mixed frozen vegetables (I used a green peas, corn, and carrot mixture and placed in the microwave for a minute
2 cups of cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1 1/2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos 
Canola Oil dispensed from vegetable oil mister (This also allows you to use less oil resulting in less calories added)

Directions:
Scramble egg substitute in a small pan using at least 3 sprays from vegetable oil mister.
Saute the rest of the ingredients in another pan using 5 or 6 sprays of canola oil for about ten minutes or less while stirring frequently.  A few sprinkles of water may be needed according to desired consistency.
Mix in the scrambled egg white substitute and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

 
Now it's time for you to enjoy your good-for-you fried rice!

Please take the time to look below and try out other "reduxed" vintage recipes by my fellow Recipe Reduxers! 

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What is your favorite rice dish? 
  
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nutrition Bit: Hydration by Tara Johnson, RD

I teach a class called "Capstone" in the Nutrition and Dietetics program here at Loma Linda University. Two projects out of four for this course are video/television appearances. This is to give our dietetic students training and exposure to being in front of the camera.  We have been busy in the studio this quarter, but also having a lot of fun.

One of the projects is a 30-second segment, which is more like a commercial, but giving healthy nutrition tips.  The students voted on naming their individual video clips "Nutrition Bits".  The "Nutrition Bits" will be aired on SmartLifestyle TV network in between programs.

Here is a sample of one of the "Nutrition Bits".  This "Nutrition Bit" features our graduate student, Tara Johnson, who passed her Registered Dietitian exam last October 11, 2012.  Tara is an outstanding student and now RD.  She will be graduating by the end of this school year in June, 2013.  So, if anyone wants to hire her, she will be ready to work for you!




I certainly hope Tara has encouraged you to make sure that your hydration status is up to par!

If you are interested in becoming a registered dietitian, please visit our website at www.llu.edu/nutrition.

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How do you keep hydrated throughout the day?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keeping it Simple: Cinnamon

My eyes recently caught a post that stated cinnamon is a good source of iron...and that it was a fact. I immediately thought, "How can a spice be a good source of iron?" Even if it wasn't heme-iron, but if it had an impressive amount of non-heme iron, that would at least be pretty good.  My "registered dietitian thinking cap" knew it couldn't be so, but I proceeded to look up the nutritional analysis of iron in cinnamon anyway, because I could be absolutely wrong.  I wouldn't mind if I was proven wrong.

I looked in the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory and typed in ground cinnamon. For one tablespoon of cinnamon, only .65 mg if iron is provided.  (Swallowing even one teaspoon of cinnamon is dangerous, because that can result unpleasant side effects. Don't even try it!  Trust me on this.)  I looked up two other references and it showed that for 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, the same amount of iron was indicated. 

We need about 18 mg of iron (preferably heme iron) day, so if 1 tablespoon of cinnamon supplies less than 1 mg of iron, this would be equivalent to almost 12 tablespoons of cinnamon to meet your needs. 

Please don't rely on cinnamon as an adequate source of iron. Most animal product sources contain the heme-iron that is desirable for good iron absorption; however, if you are a vegetarian, then obtaining iron through vegetable sources is fine, but pay extra attention to having a food source rich in vitamin C with every meal.  The vitamin C in food will aid in absorption of iron.  Indeed, this would also be good for those who are not vegetarians.

Cinnamon does have other desirable benefits and adds wonderful flavor to food.  However, just know that it is not a desirable source of iron.

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What food items or beverages to you enjoy cinnamon in?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Food Day to be Celebrated at Loma Linda University

The Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Socity of Loma Linda University's Nutrition Council Student Association will be hosting Food Day on campus for the University and the community. Come and join us in this wonderful celebration! Please click here to learn more.


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How will you be celebrating Food Day?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Recipe Redux: Yam Tofu Patty

This month's theme for Recipe Redux is very fun and appropo for this beautiful season.  "Orange You Glad It's Fall?" is the theme, which centers on vegetables that are rich with these orange antioxidants. Therefore, in creating this recipe, my mind went straight to initially developing a patty using carrots. That didn't work out as well as I would have liked it to turn out; however, yams presented itself as being the choice to take center stage of my patty recipe. The twist to this patty is that it is made in a panini maker.  It sure saves time making it this way!

Ingredients:
1 14 oz tub of soft tofu
1 cup of shredded yam
1 cup of shredded light sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 of an onion chopped
3 eggs or 1 cup of egg substitute
2 tsp of McKay's chicken-like powdered broth
1 tsp of mushroom seasoning 
At least 2 Tbsp of canola oil or vegetable cooking spray

Directions:
Mash/crumble tofu with hands and place in a strainer while preparing the rest of the ingredients. This will allow the water from the tofu to drain.

In a large bowl, mix the tofu, yam, cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, onions, and seasonings together very well.

Preheat panini maker, which only takes a few minutes.  Either spray with vegetable cooking spray or add a couple table spoons of oil across the surface.

You can use a third cup measuring cup to scoop out a portion of the mixture and shape it into a ball. Place ball mixture in panini maker giving enough room in between ball mixtures. Press down panini maker and leave for about 4 minutes or so until golden brown.  Scoop out with spatula when done.

These patties are so versatile.  You can use them by itself with rice and vegetables, in a breakfast sandwich or in a veggie burger! The yam tofu patty gives you protein, antioxidants, and a little bit of potassium, vitamin C and calcium. Have a wonderful time making these!

Please also take a look down below at the other delicious orange antioxidant recipes my colleagues have created for you to enjoy!

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How do you like to enjoy yams? Baked, casserole, candied, etc?
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Product Review: Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar Cheese

I'm very thankful I have been introduced to the wonderful line of Cabot cheese.  I have purchased and used other "light" cheeses by other brands, but have never been satisfied with the texture and flavor. There is definitely no disappointment when I use Cabot sharp light cheddar cheese! It has definitely made my casseroles so delicious imparting a creamy experience. When I shred the cheese, it also has a wonderful, light touch to it, not heavy and dry like other light cheeses.

I am currently working on another veggie patty recipe.  I still have to tweak it a whole lot more before I can declare it good to go. However, infusing the Cabot cheese within my patties thus far is sure making it tasty! 

Cabot light cheese are low in saturated fat, are lactose free, and provide your bones with a good amount of calcium. So, I say to you today, click here to find out where Cabot cheeses are sold near you and go out and get some!  Start enjoying the great tasteful experience Cabot cheese can bring to your dishes.

Disclaimer: I was provided free samples of sharp light cheddar cheese by Cabot. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.

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What dish have you used any of Cabot's cheeses in?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Favorite Dark Green Leafy Vegetable

Puerto Galera Beach in the Philippines
I had such a delicious dinner tonight that once again, I have forgotten to take a picture of what I am planning to write about...sweet potato tops. I'm thankful for my Filipino heritage. I was born here in California; however, I am very grateful for the love instilled to me by my parents for ethnic dishes of the Philippines

One dish that I love is the sweet potato tops salad.  Yes, indeed, this is what I had for dinner tonight. The dark green leaves that grow with sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition. These dark leafy vegetables contain polyphenols and potassium. The Filipino name for this dark green leafy vegetable is camote tops or talbos ng camote.  So, this sweet potato tops salad contains the  steamed leaves themselves, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onions with a touch of salt. The flavor of this sweet potato top salad is absolutely wonderful! 

The sweet potato top leaves or camote tops can be bought at Filipino or Asian markets. Once again, my apologies for not posting a picture; however, if you go on Google images and type in the name camote tops, you will see numerous pictures of these delightful leafy greens.

When it comes to eating well, don't just stick with the "usual". Venture out and try other vegetables that are not familiar to you. You will be surprised to find out you may have a new favorite veggie or two.

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What new vegetable have you discovered and liked recently?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recipe Redux: Baked Veggie Fri Chik Recipe

This month's Recipe Redux theme called for fermented foods. I chose Greek yogurt as my fermented food of choice for my recipe. I have grown to enjoy this particular type of yogurt and realized it can also add a wonderful flavor to savory dishes. For vegetarian and non-vegetarian lovers, you just might want to give this simple meatless recipe a try.  This dish is low in saturated fat with a decent amount of that good-for-you fat...monounsaturated fat.

Ingredients:

1 can Fri Chik (sliced into long pieces)
1/3 of an onion chopped
1/4 cup of cream of mushroom soup
4 ounces of Chobani plain yogurt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp of Mushroom seasoning
1 cup of Daiya Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs

Directions:
Heat oven at 350 degrees.

In a small casserole dish, lay down the Fri Chik pieces.  Place onions on top of Fri Chik pieces and in between.  Pour cream of mushroom soup on top of Fri Chik and onions.  Take spoon and spread out cream of mushroom soup all over Fri Chik and onions.  Place Greek yogurt on top of Fri Chik, onions, and cream of mushroom soup layer.  Take spoon and spread Greek yogurt all over the cream of mushroom soup layer. Add pepper and mushroom seasoning on top of Greek yogurt layer. Spread Daiya cheese across the top.  Spread panko breadcrumbs across the top of cheese layer.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

Please take a look at all the other great recipe's by the women of Recipe Redux down below and enjoy!

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What is your favorite veggie "meat"?
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Biking at Snow Summit

Now I know the name of my blog is "God, Food, Run"...trust me, I definitely am still running.  In fact, I'm training for a half marathon in November. However, I also LOVE mountain biking, so this is another mountain biking post. It's so interesting, the more I run...the better my mountain biking gets. The more I mountain bike, the better my running gets. I sure can't complain about that!

Big Bear Lake right behind me.
Is there a bird, Tom?
Last Sunday, we decided to go ride up in Big Bear again. However, we decided last minute as we were almost there to actually ride at Snow Summit.  Snow Summit is a wonderful place to ski at, but it is awesome for mountain biking. You have the option of taking the ski lifts and loading up your bike. This of course requires some $$$.  We decided to skip the lifts this time and to ride up ourselves.

I'm so glad we did! The uphill made for a great work-out. We rode on trail 2N10, which was for the most part a fire road. It did get steeper as we got closer to the ski lift. Once we got to the top, we ate our PB and J sandwiches at the tables right next to the lodge. Our view there was beautiful! For our descent, we chose a single track called Pirates trail. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. That was a gnarly trail, very technical, and way too rocky, but still so fun despite it being extremely challenging. The "loop" we made that day was not too long, but it sure was enjoyable, fun, and exhilarating!!  This is one of the perks of living in SoCal...just an hour drive to a fantastic place to mountain bike at!

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Where is your favorite place to go mountain biking at?

Women of Faith 2012 Week-end

It has been several years since I had attended Women of Faith. I had gone for a number of years in a row. I attended this year's Women of Faith last week-end at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Once again, it was great to attend another Women of Faith conference in which women of God truly inspired and encouraged all who attended in their walk with God.

Before going to this year's meetings, I was a little concerned that the original speakers were not all going to be in attendance delivering their inspiring stories.  I thought, oh dear...new people??!!! Now Sheila Walsh was still there on the list, so that was a relief.  However, once I was there, I thought...why did I ever think the thought that I did with new, unfamiliar faces?  The new speakers definitely brought sincere encouragement that was very much equal to the previous loved Women of Faith speakers from the past.  It was wonderful to see the love of Christ shine forth from the words they spoke. Their testimonies were worth listening to, because Christ was brought right to the forefront!  Other speakers that I had really enjoyed that week-end were Pat Smith (wife of Emmit Smith) and Angie Smith (wife of Todd Smith from Selah).

Wonderful praise music!
The week-end conference for women was also rounded out with absolutely beautiful music from the  award winning group Selah and from the gorgeous CeCe Winans. Attendees, as usual, also got to participate in worship and song by singing along with the talented Women of Faith praise team.  Whether you listened to music there or participated in singing along, you definitely felt the sense of worshiping God through song.

In order to save money there, we brought along our own healthy snacks and lunch. The food stands there at Honda Center are expensive, not that great tasting, and not as nutritious as we would like it to be.  We were given adequate breaks to go out to our cars and enjoy nourishing ourselves.

It's always so memorable attending "Women of Faith" with friends!
If you haven't had a chance to experience Women of Faith, and of course if you are a female, I would encourage you to do so.  It's a wonderful time for women to bond together and to celebrate Jesus!:)

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Have you ever attended Women of Faith, what was your most memorable experience there?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keeping It Simple: Raisins

Now please don't get me wrong. This is not a post on raisin bashing. I certainly love raisins myself. In fact, I ALWAYS add raisins to my oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Raisins can also make other foods more delicious such as trail mixes, salads, savory dishes, and yes, I have had some in lumpia...Filipino egg rolls! 

Anyway, on to the "inspiration" for this post. I had received an email from a certain someone from a certain food company. This kind lady informed me that there was a new study that came out in a reputable sports journal stating that raisins were found to be comparable as chews for endurance runners. The kind lady only provided me with the abstract of the study, but it was sufficient to make a few judgement calls. It would have been nice if this study had more than eleven participants. Eleven is too small of a study to say "WOW"! I would like to see this exact same study performed during marathon events and not just for 80 minute runs plus a 5K time trial.

Now I personally love my chews and chomps and can't imagine running long distances without them. I never thought of raisins as a replacement for the chews. The more I thought about it, I started to like the idea, but said to myself "As much as I love raisins, they  do take more effort to chew than just regular softer chews. Who wants to expend extra energy on chewing something a little bit more chewy when running or biking...especially during the in between hydration intake times of fluid when I can be a little bit dehydrated?" However, that's just me, and maybe other people wouldn't mind and do just fine.

Then going back to what are essential during an endurance run or ride, there are three things that come to mind in addition to fluid intake and hydration status. They are the intake of carbohydrates, potassium, and sodium. Chews and chomps have carbohydrates, potassium, and sodium. Raisins do have carbohydrates and yes, a whopping amount of potassium (more than the chews), but it sadly falters in the minute amount of sodium. That's where the buck stops  for me. However, maybe if I salted the raisins before I go on my run or ride and before eating them, then it may be alright. (or along with a sports drink). Okay, 'nuff said.:)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recipe Redux: Asparagus Sandwich Vienna Style

The theme for this month's Recipe Redux is "most memorable vacation meal". We were to take an unforgettable meal that we had on a vacation or trip somewhere and re-create it, but with an added healthy twist.

I recently was able to go back to Vienna. The night before we left to return back home, I had my favorite dinner from that entire trip. I was in heaven with a sandwich that looked incomplete to me. It only had one slice of bread, but I realized I didn't miss the other slice. The flavor of the "salad" on top of the sandwich intertwined with the delicious, mouthwatering taste of the grilled white asparagus wrapped with an omelet on top of a tasty slice of bread. I could not stop commenting on how scrumptious it was while eating...neither could be my friend who had the same thing. Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of this wonderful entree, BUT...I did take a picture of the meal I had. Now, I also had a side salad and topped the meal with...oh yes...sacher torte!  Can't leave Vienna without having that amazing dessert.  However, for now, I will focus on the asparagus sandwich I absolutely delighted my taste buds in.

This is the actual sandwich I had in Vienna with white asparagus.


The changes I made were in the eggs and bread.  I used an egg substitute, which allowed for decreasing the saturated fat content, to make the omelet. Then I made sure the ingredient list of the bread I bought started off with 100% whole wheat flour to bump up the fiber content.

Ingredients:

4 spears of regular size asparagus or about 8-10 spears of small asparagus
1/2 cup of egg substitute
1 Tbsp chopped white onions
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup of spring mix lettuce leaves
3 tsp of Annie's Roasted Garlic dressing (or dressing of your choice)
Just enough olive oil to drizzle on asparagus
1/2 Tbsp of Canola Oil
Pinch of salt and black pepper
Green onions and cherry tomatoes for garnish

Directions:
Grill the asparagus for a few minutes.  (I used my panini maker and grilled it on there.  I laid down the asparagus in a row, drizzled olived oil on top of the asparagus and put a slight pinch of salt and black on top).

On a frying pan or skillet, pour the canola oil and pour the egg substitute. Sprinkle the white onions and garlic on top of the egg substitute.  Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook egg on one side for a few minutes.  Flip over and cook other side for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, place spring lettuce in a bowl and saturate with dressing.

Bread may be toasted ahead of time if desired.  However, place bread on plate. Then place omelet on top of bread and insert asparagus inside and fold over omelet.  On top of omelet, place lettuce. Garnish plate with green onions and cherry tomatoes.


I couldn't find white asparagus, but this certainly did the job for me!



Hope you enjoy this dish! Please take a look at the other wonderful recipes by fellow Recipe Reduxers.

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If you have ever been to Vienna, what was your favorite food item over there?

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Beautiful Ketchum & Mountain Biking

Last week-end, Tom and I went to Idaho to visit his family. We went up to Ketchum where Sun Valley Ski Resort is located. The scenery there was absolutely breathtaking with perfect weather during this time of year. Since Tom's 75-year-old father was with us and since we didn't think he was an avid cycler, we rented a hybrid bike for him, while the two of us rented mountain bikes. Our initial plan was just to toodle around town...no major plans for any major biking. While "toodling", one path led to another ending up at the actual ski resort. We couldn't help ourselves and thought...why not?  We're here...we must as well get on the ski lift and enjoy the ride. Needless to say, Tom's father promised to never ride with us again...especially after falling off his hybrid bike twice and never ever mountain biking in his life. Yes, we found that part out after our "adventure".:-D

We chose to ride on the Warm Springs trail. Although the majority of this trail was downhill, there was still some uphill climbing, which really wasn't bad at all (which I love!). There were some switchbacks to deal with, but again...not bad. The trail was rocky, so I had wished I had my own bike since I have dual suspension. The surrounding was definitely beautiful all around which lasted for about 12 miles...that is...twelve mountain biking miles. There were many other trails to choose from there. 

Beautiful Sun Valley Ski Resort in Ketchum, Idaho
I tried for the first time a 29er.
Getting off the lift and ready to ride!


Unfortunately, since we did not plan to do a mountain biking ride...and because we weren't told how long the trail is, we didn't bring enough water, so that part was a little scary. I always bring food with me, so that wasn't a problem. The Trader Joe's pre-portioned trail mix is great to take along anytime and anywhere.  However, not having enough water can definitely make any ride miserable, but thank God we were okay and our ride still memorable and fun!

The town of Ketchum also has many wonderful restaurants with outdoor patios.  I absolutely loved sitting outside having our meals and looking around at the gorgeous mountainous, green surroundings. Ketchum is like Amerca's best kept little secret.  If you love to mountain bike, Sun Valley is a must to enjoy this wonderful sport at.

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Where is your favorite place to mountain bike?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keeping it Simple: Carbohydrates

There was a commercial that was playing in the background as I was rushing to go somewhere...I can't remember where. Anyway, I can't remember the exact wording, but it went something like this "It's always changing...carbohydrates are good..carbohydrates are bad". This commercial really got under my skin.  It's commercials like these from the media that ruins nutrition information.  On the other hand, it is true that with other aspects of nutrition (not all), and with ongoing research, other nutritional "news" may change. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, media has continually given this important macronutrient (a major nutrient that is essential to our existence) misrepresentation. Carbohydrates has been proven for years that we need it for our bodies to function properly. That will not change.

It makes me cringe (although I keep my mouth shut) whenever I get together with our women's Bible Study group, and they're proud to announce that the bread they're using for our sandwiches is "low-carb". That's nothing to be proud about!! 

So, let's just keep this simple. The number one fuel  source our body depends on is carbohydrate. The desirable carbohydrates our bodies should have more often are fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, whole grain rice, and potatoes. These food items give our bodies various vitamins, various polyphenols, and fiber. Intake of these foods results in a healthy body. The less desirable carbohydrates are desserts (like cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream), white bread, white pasta, white rice, and sugar-filled drinks such as sodas. These food items certainly gives us calories, but they do not always necessarily give us the nutrients we get from the other food items previously listed, especially fiber!  If you're going to take in calories, you want calories that will give you good bang for your buck...meaning that the calories you take in are calories that come with nourishment. Calories devoid of nutrients is not worth taking in. Continually taking in calories that do not have adequate nutrients can lead to a nutrient deficiency, which you do not want to experience. On the other hand, if you also cut back on your calories too much on a daily basis to lose weight, well then...be ready to enter the malnutrition zone and feel horrible. But hey, if that's where you want to be, then that's your prerogative.

Anyway, please don't be swayed by the negative reporting of media. We NEED carbohydrates, just like we need protein and fat in order to be healthy; however, we do NOT need any of these macronutrients in excess. Excess intake of any of these macronutrients (and not exercising regularly) can lead to unused calories at the end of the day resulting in a caloric pile-up. Since this pile-up of calories has no where to go and are not being used, then they happily and gladly to turn into fat and extra weight. Really, it's just as simple as that. So, proceed with mindful moderation. Happy eating to all of us!
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My favorite undesirable carbohydrate is ice cream...which I have once in a while!:)  What's yours?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Favorite Dessert During My Trip to Romania

Now I don't want to offend anyone in any way and I certainly do not like to delve into any negative political or territorial turf. So, please just know that I am only writing about my favorite dessert that I had in Romania and that's it. Nothing else. You know I love food and good, delicious tasting food, so that's absolutely it!

On this trip, I made sure that I wouldn't over-do it on eating sweets.  I generally don't have much added sweets, but when I travel I tend to want to try every dessert offered to me, because I want to experience that particular country's cuisine. On my last trip to Slovakia and Austria last May, I didn't keep track of how much dessert I was eating and I paid for it when I returned.  I got sick.  So, this time, although not saying no to any dessert, I just made sure I had a couple bites of each dessert that I had there and totally savored and enjoyed the moment. I am happy to say that this worked!

The noodle dessert is on the left. Yummeeeeee!
So on to my favorite dessert that I loved over there in Romania! Never in my life have I had the opportunity to have a dessert that has pasta or noodles in it! Never! Ever! So, the concept was very strange and intriguing to me. I was looking forward to it and I was ready. I was very thankful that our Romanian colleagues decided to take us to a wonderful restaurant during the last couple nights of our stay. We were taken to a Hungarian restaurant.  Oh yes! The food was also very delicious here...trust me...it was...even though I cannot remember what I had (I ate so many different dishes during my stay over there that it's hard to keep track). Then the choices of desserts came.  We had three different kinds that arrived to our table on a plate. The other two were good, but the one that caught my taste buds was the dessert with noodles in it. Oh it was so strange at first, but I loved it!! It definitely works. I also liked the fact that it was not too sweet. The sweetness was just right. Traveling is definitely fun when you go to places with desserts you don't normally have in your home country!

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Which Hungarian dessert have you had and did you like it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Discovery in Romania

Last week, I returned from an absolutely memorable and unforgettable trip to Romania. Romania is a beautiful European country. Therefore, I have had no energy to write or blog since I returned due to always having such a difficult time with jet lag. However, it was well worth the time and effort visiting the country in order to participate in the inaugural conference meetings of the Romanian Nutrition and Dietetics Association. That truly was an honor and privilege to take part in history. I am excited for all of the new Romanian dietitians who will be able to continue helping and guiding people to better health in their country.


One of the joys of traveling to a different country is to take part in their culture...and food!!!:) Soups are a very important part of Romanian meals. These soups are very healthy due to its richness in various vegetables. The dietetic students and dietitians have also told me that Romanian soups are not made with a lot of salt. That is truly amazing to me, because their soups are very flavorful. I was wondering what flavor I was enjoying eating a particular soup one day. I was told that the herb lovage is one of the herbs used in Romanian cuisines. There are medicinal benefits to this herb, but that is not what I am going to focus on here. I just want to focus on the fact that this herb definitely brings a wonderful and pleasantly unique flavoring to soups! 


One of the students in Romania actually gave me some lovage leaves and seeds to take home with me back here to the U.S.  However, when I got to the agriculture inspection in Portland, they told me they had to take the seeds away from me, but that I was allowed to take the leaves with me all the way to California. Taking the leaves with me made me happy. Anyway, lovage seeds can be ordered online. I will be doing that. I am happy to have access to lovage seeds. In addition, I hope you will try the lovage herb one day in your cooking, so that you will be able enjoy the delightful flavor it delivers.


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Have you had the chance to visit any European countries this year? If so, which country was it and what food did you particularly enjoy from that country?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Recipe Redux: Filipino Rice Cakes

Happy first birthday to Recipe Redux!  What a great group to be a part of. Thank you to Serena, Deanna, and Regan for your wonderful leadership!

Filipino Rice Cakes (Puto)--they're really bite size, but look big here.
So, in celebration of Recipe Redux's first birthday, the theme of this month is "Small Bites to Celebrate a Big Event". Immediately I thought of all of the Filipino celebrations I have attended since birth and have always enjoyed the festive looking small rice cakes. Now before I go on, I must warn you. The real name of this Filipino dessert sounds like a Spanish not-so-nice-word, but please trust me, as I use it here I am not using it in the Spanish manner and Filipinos are not using the word to name this dessert something bad.;) Okay, so having said that, the name of this Filipino rice cake is puto.:) Alright, you can get it out of your system and laugh it all out!:-D

This Filipino rice cake is usually just white; however, I have seen it and eaten it in various colors. For Recipe Redux's celebration I have made them a few different colors. There are so many variations to this Filipino rice cake, especially when it comes to texture, but they all have the same, or similar wonderful flavor.

Since I didn't want to re-invent the wheel, I took the puto recipe of EntrePinoys Atbp., and modified it. Their recipe is good, but I like desserts not too sweet, just slightly sweet. I reduced the sugar a bit and coconut milk. Then I increased the rice flour content since I wasn't getting the texture I personally was envisioning. If you look at other Filipino rice cake recipes, they mainly use rice flour, but some use other flours. To me, the best flour to use for puto is rice flour which you can buy at an Asian or Filipino market.

Ingredients:
2 1/3 cups of rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar

Directions:
1.Mix well together the rice flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar together.
2.Add the coconut milk to the dry ingredients mixture
3.(Optional) I don't really use food flavoring on a regular basis, but for this festive look and if you would like, divide the puto mixture into equal parts into several small bowls depending on how many colors you want. Follow the instructions on the food coloring box to obtain the desired color you would like. 
4. Pour the mixture into muffin tins or pans. (I used small individual muffin tins, so they are bit size, but they don't look bite-size in the picture I took.)
5. Steam for at least 30 minutes or until a toothpick pulled out is clean.
6. Puto tastes best when served warm; however, wait to cool completely before placing in containers.

These Filipino rice cakes are very easy to make! Enjoy!!

Also, please take a look down below to see the other wonderful recipes my friends have developed this month.

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What is your favorite Filipino dessert?
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Power Yoga and Hydration

If you've gotten yourself immersed in absolutely enjoying hot yoga (like I have!), then please do make sure that you're hydrating yourself well during class. For those of us who live in places where it gets warm and hot during the summer, we have to take extra caution. Especially when we take yoga classes in the afternoon after school or work, those few steps in between from work/school building to our car to the yoga studio can dehydrate us more during those warm months de-energizing months. Please be conscious and don't arrive to your yoga class in the hydration negative zone. Hydrate well, especially with water, throughout the day before class. If need be, have a small snack an hour or so prior to arriving at the studio to give you the extra energy to get through that power yoga class.



Now here's the thing, a lot of the hot power yoga classes are over an hour long...sometimes an hour and a half long or an hour and forty-five minutes long. Let's face it...they are endurance activities that are intensified with strengthening poses. These classes are not just stretching, kick-back classes. They are intense! Even more so during the hot months and doing long hot yoga classes, it definitely would not hurt to have your beverage beside your yoga mat be a sports drink containing important electrolytes, and, of course, carbohydrates to replace what you've lost. You would definitely feel a whole lot better throughout the yoga practice and after the class. For a yoga class only for an hour, water is sufficient. After class continue to hydrate and make sure you also have an adequate post meal.  Sometimes it sure feels like my yoga clothing ends up being a couple pounds heavier after class. It's a sure sign to replace, replace, replace!


Enjoy the wonderful world of power yoga!


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What type of yoga do you enjoy doing?