Friday, August 23, 2013

Recipe: Lemon Broccoli Rabe

This is a great side if you are looking to switch your greens up. For those who are knew to broccoli rabe, it is more bitter than its broccoli cousin. If you aren't a fan of bitter veggies, (think mustard greens), than broccoli rabe might not be for you.


  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and thinly sliced
  • Juice of one lemon (approx. 3 TBS)
  • Lemon zest
  • Red pepper Flakes (to taste)
To Make:
  • Heat 3/4 cup of water over medium heat until the water boils.
  • Add broccoli rabe, cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer broccoli rabe to colander, and run under cold water to stop cooking process.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, cook red bell pepper in olive oil. Add minced garlic and olives. Continue cooking for 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and lemon juice. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. 
  • Transfer to serving dish and garnish with red pepper flakes and lemon zest.
Serves: 4
Each Serving: 53 Calories, 3 g Carbs, 5 g Fat, 1 g Protein, 1 g Fiber
Weight Watchers Points: 2

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chopped looking for Amateur Teen Chefs

Just a quick update:

The Food Network's acclaimed competition show, "Chopped" is looking for teen amateur chefs, ages 12-16 in the NY/Northeast Area.

To enter, go to:

Chopped also routinely looks for home chefs of all ages.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Which Spices to Pair with Food

Last month, I posted an infographic from McCormick, which showed you which spices went together if you were trying to create a regional or ethnic-inspired dish.

I love that infographic quite a bit, which is why I posted it, but I do think it left out one thing -- an idea of which spices complement which foods best. For that, I found this new infographic.

Now, there are some points I disagree on -- I think that Basil can and should be used in some savory desserts, and I think basil would be wonderful in breads.... but for the most part, I think its a good guide.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lunch Complaint: Where's the Broccoli??

This is going to be a venting post.

As my readers know, I've recently joined Weight Watchers, and am following the Points Plus program. So far, it's going well, and I appreciate that Weight Watchers markets and manufactures Smart Ones microwavable meals for the days when I'm running late for work. I grab one with a side of fruit and veggies and I'm out the door.

That happened to be the scenario this morning, so I grabbed a WW Smart Ones meal: Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli & Chicken. I really like some of the WW meals -- I recommend Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach and the Chicken Enchiladas Suiza -- but I had never tried this particular meal.

I make the meal. Easy enough, just follow the directions.

I pull back the film to stir, and notice the INSANELY wimpy portion of broccoli. Picture 6 small pieces. 

Now, I am a veggie fan. I love them, so I was disappointed that there wasn't more. But then, the more I thought about, the less those 6 broccoli pieces made sense to me.

Why, you ask?

Because broccoli, like other fruits and veggies, has a grand total of 0 WW points. ZERO. 

I can understand the limited amount of chicken in the meal, ya know, because chicken adds up at 1 point per ounce, but why is Weight Watchers skimping on a zero point veggie that the program encourages us to eat?? 

 Obviously, this will not affect my long term results on the WW program, but it did bother me enough to take to my blog to talk about it. Weight Watchers, if you're listening, I'd like more broccoli, please. 

Lessons learned here:

  • Bulking up meals with veggies and fruits will not only add more nutrients to your daily diet, but will also leave you satisfied for longer. 
Well, it looks like there's broccoli....

Maybe the rest of the broccoli is with Waldo

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jenny Craig pivots away from celebs in ads

This article was originally featured in USA Today on August 13, 2013. I have reposted because I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts. Feel free to comment below.

Jenny Craig Pivots Away From Celebs in Ads

Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY
 August 13, 2013

Jenny Craig wants to zig where other weight-loss specialists zag, by cutting way back on the use of celebrity endorsers in its ads.

Quick: Which weight-loss company has featured actress Valerie Bertinelli in its ads?
Or Jennifer Hudson? Or Mariah Carey? Or, ugh, big, bad Charles Barkley?
If you're not sure, you've got plenty of company. That's one major reason why Jenny Craig, which uses Bertinelli, announced that it will feature far fewer celebs going forward and, instead, will roll out a new animated advertising campaign that comes without the big celebrity endorsement fees.
(If you're keeping score, Hudson and Barkley have starred for Weight Watchers and Carey for Jenny Craig.)
At issue: Can consumers remember which highly paid celebs hype which products? Or, even more central: Are celebrity endorsers worth all the dough? According to the folks at Ace Metrix, spokes-celebs may be doing a lot more to help their own bottom lines than the products they hype.
Overall, ads without celebrities rate slightly better with consumers than ads with celebrities, according to a recent study by Ace Metrix, a syndicated ad testing specialist. While the average Ace Metrix score of all celebrity spots in the study was 515, the average score for ads without celebs ranked slightly higher, at 529.
"Celebrities can be very polarizing," explains Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. So, if half the consumers love the celeb in a spot — and half hate the star, he says, "you're cutting off half of your potential audience."
Among the most polarizing celebs, he says: Tiger Woods, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Sarah Jessica Parker.
When clients ask Daboll whether to use a celeb in a spot, he says he offers one word of advice: don't. "A good story always works better than just slapping a celebrity in an ad."
But celebrity broker Noreen Jenny Laffey, president of Celebrity Endorsement Network, says it's not that simple — particularly with weight-loss ad campaigns. "The problem isn't the celebrity," she says, but the fact that celebs in weight-loss ads all pretty much do and say the same thing: I used this product, and I lost weight.
That's not only boring — but also confusing. "It's hard when you have competitive products using celebrities to basically say the same thing," she says. The cola and sneaker giants face these same problems, she notes. "You need to do something totally different that stands out."
Not easy. So Jenny Craig's new marketing chief, Leesa Eichberger, turned to the ad agency Havas Worldwide New York for something different. The new, animated ads will focus on the company's food and its one-on-one support. Gone: all the bright lights, celebrity spokespeople and requisite "before and after" imagery, Eichberger says.
Daboll, the numbers-crunching CEO at Ace Metrix, says it has a decent shot at working — if only because it's not just another overweight celebrity bragging about losing some tonnage. "I'd suggest it's a smart move."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vitamin Guide

I had a hard time this past winter -- for some reason, my body could not maintain its own temperature. I felt achy and cold; It wasn't a fun time.

After several doctor's appointment, it was determined that I was suffering from both an iron and vitamin D deficiency.

A lot of people don't keep track of their vitamin intake, which is important to do. Vitamins and minerals are essential for body function. While multivitamins are an option, you can also get the recommended dose of vitamins in the food you eat.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Does Weight Watchers really work?

A few months ago, I asked if any of my readers could share their experiences with Weight Watchers. I'd been plateaued with my own weight loss for several months and was thinking of switching from counting calories, to counting points.

I'm pleased to announce that I have been a member of Weight Watchers and have lost 8 pounds in 2 months.

I'd like to give my critique of the program, and why I think it's been working for me.

Instead of counting calories, people on WW count points. A point number is given to you during the registration process -- depending on your weight, height, age, and gender. I have 28 points to consume each day. In addition to your daily points limit, WW'ers are also given 49 "anytime" points each week to use for special cheats and splurges. It's also possible to earn "activity" points by exercising.

I have 28 points a day. Every food's given point value is based on its macro nutrient values -- specifically the protein to carb to fiber to fat ratio. 

As a previous calorie counter, It was a shift in thinking when I switched to counting points. I find that I care less about calories -- and more about the quality of food that I'm putting in my body. 

I do have two critiques though. First, because exercise is counted in points, I don't think you get as "much" back when you work out. For instance, 50 minutes on the elliptical could easily burn around 550 calories, right? That's the caloric equivalent of a Big Mac from McDonald's. That same intense 50 minute elliptical workout is only going to get me about 4 activity points -- which is the equivalent of just ONE of the following: 2 slices wheat bread, 4 oz chicken, 2 eggs, or a glass of wine. That being said, I never feel unsatisfied, because I do have my anytime points that I can dip into if I choose to.

The other critique is the alcohol factor. I'm a big wine drinker, so when I was counting calories, I'd make sure that I had about 300 calories left for two glasses of wine if I went out on a date or out with girlfriends. 300 calories is not that much of a sacrifice - when I was counting calories, I'd simply plan ahead and go to the gym to put in a half an hour of cardio. However, Alcohol in WW tends to be rated much higher because it lacks protein or fiber...... so a glass of wine is 4 points. 2 glasses is 8 -- that's how many I get for lunch! 

The bottom line is I really do like and support the program. I think it's easy to follow, and really forces you to say, "Do I really want that," and "Is it worth it" -- you know? I also believe the program encourages you to think of weight loss and healthy eating on both the daily and weekly platforms, because you do have to plan ahead. Also the meetings are an amazing support. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alternative Uses for Greek Yogurt

I eat Greek yogurt with berries and a bit of honey almost every day for breakfast, as I think most people do.

But why stop there? Get creative, foodies! Greek yogurt can add a creamy protein boost to sauces, soups, marinades -- the list goes on and on.

Here's a few ideas/recipes to get you started.

  • Use Greek yogurt on your sandwich -- Skip the mayo, and spread yogurt with a touch of fresh herbs onto a BLT or Turkey on whole wheat
  • Use Greek yogurt in a tzatziki sauce-- with Greek spiced kebabs and pita
  • Combine yogurt with bold spices (paprika, black pepper, chili powder and cumin) to make a tangy marinade for meats.
  • Take advantage of Greek Yogurt's "tang" -- and use it in place of sour cream on baked potatoes and Mexican-inspired dishes
  • Try Greek Yogurt in creamy Alfredo dishes for a much healthier heavy cream substitute
  • Mix yogurt with sugar-free chocolate syrup for a guilt-free fruit dip at parties
  • Add jam and fresh fruit (and a touch of sweetener if you'd like). Serve chilled for a healthy but sweet treat
  • Add a few spoonfuls to crushed avocados, cilantro, and jalapenos for a creamier guacamole. 
  • Use Greek yogurt in place of fats during baking -- see chart below for hints and conversions