Saturday, August 20, 2016

Recipe ReDux Post # 49 Turkey and Veggie Taco Filling

One of my favorite places to escape Los Angeles for a weekend trip is San Diego.  Years ago when I was there for a conference we were treated to a wonderful meal downtown for dinner at a trendy Mexican place.  It was a warm evening so I decided to order a taco salad and I found it extra special since they used ground turkey and it contained one of my favorite veggies- mushrooms. I have been wanting to re-create it for a long time now and this month’s Recipe ReDux gave me just the chance! The August challenge is to make a vacation inspired recipe and this is the one I chose. I hope you will give it a try and sample some of the other tasty trip-tastic treats developed by the talented Recipe ReDux bloggers too.


16 ounces lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped bell pepper (red, yellow or a mixture)
4 cups chopped mushrooms (I used portobello)
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt to taste


Coat a large sized pan with the olive oil, add the turkey meat and brown on medium heat, breaking up into small pieces, for about 7-10 minutes until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the onion, peppers, and mushrooms to the pan and sauté on medium high heat until softened and starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Put the turkey back into the pan with the veggies, add the canned tomatoes and spices and simmer on medium heat for 7-10 minutes until warmed through.

Make 8 generous cups, 8 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 110 Protein 16 g Carb 10 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 4 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 120 mg


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In The News: The New Food Label is Coming Soon, Get To Know It!

On May 27, 2016 the final regulations for the new food label were published and the changes are effective as of July 26, 2016.  So what does that mean?   You should start seeing some changes on the labels on food products very soon.  Companies with smaller annual sales have until July 26, 2018 to make the changes and those with larger annual sales (>10 million ) will have until July 26, 2019.  So what are the changes and what does it look like?  Check HERE and HERE for the latest info on the new food label!


Monday, August 8, 2016

In the News: Eating Nuts Frequently Can Lead to Decreased Levels of Inflammation!

Nuts are constantly in the news and are a hot topic as far as their nutritional benefits are concerned.  Yet another study has just been released singing their praises showing that a greater intake of nuts is associated with lower levels of inflammatory makers in the body.

The study, conducted at Brigham and Women's and which included over 5000 participants, was a cross sectional analysis of data from the Nurse's Health study and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study.  Diet intake was assessed using questionnaires and the researchers looked at 3 inflammatory marker levels measured in the blood- C reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2).

The researchers found that participants who had consumed five or more servings of nuts per week had lower levels of CRP and IL6 than those who never or almost never ate nuts. And, people who substituted three servings per week of nuts in place of red meat, processed meat, eggs or refined grains had significantly lower levels of CRP and IL6.  These results persisted after adjusting for age, medical history, lifestyle and other factors.  The researchers can not isolate what healthful components (such as magnesium, fiber, L-arginine, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids such as α-linolenic acid) of nuts are responsible for these beneficial effects, and note that further research needs to be conducted in this exciting and promising area.  Check out a synopsis of the study HERE.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Gabby's Eats: Juice Cubes (well...Spheres!)

Being that we are in the throws of Summer and enduring the warm weather, which in Southern California (where we live) will continue easily into November (!),  it is super important to stay hydrated.  Water by itself can get a bit monotonous, namely for kids, but it really is a top choice because it does the job to naturally replenish to the body's fluids WITHOUT any added sugar, calories or other additives.

I was recently sent a fun package of goodies from The Cranberry Institute which included some cranberry juice, a lovely tumbler and a REALLY cool ice cube maker.  Well, not really ice cubes- ice spheres!!  It's called the Flamen Ice Ball Maker.  This handy tool is BPA free, dishwasher safe and creates 2 inch ice spheres which supposedly melt slower than regular ice cubes to keep your drink colder longer.  How cool, right? Literally ;)

Gabby and I decided we wanted to try out this intriguing tool right away, and what better way to liven up her plain ol' water than by making some juice cubes too put in her glass!  She is a big fan of cranberries so we used the cranberry juice that was sent to us. 

Basically, all we had to do was pour the juice in the mold...

Freeze overnight....

And voila- add the spheres to water and enjoy a hint of yummy cranberry flavor!  You can use any juice you like and also use a regular ice cube tray if you don't have a super fancy Flamen handy to make ice spheres!

A big thank you to The Cranberry Institute for the fun Summer care package-  our inspiration to make these delicious and refreshing juice spheres!

Enjoy! And, for cool cranberry news, research and recipes- check out the Cranberry Institute's webpage HERE!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In The News: Cinnamon Can Help Improve Learning Ability?

Cinnamon is a well loved and popular spice, who doesn't love a sprinkle on apples or mixing in our baked good recipes? !  But now recent research suggests that consuming cinnamon may improve learning capacity too!! A study published in Neuroimmune Pharmacology noted that mice that were considered poor learners that consumed cinnamon experienced improvements in their learning ability. 

Previous research has shown that poor learners have less of CREB protein (one that plays a role in learning and memory function) in their hippocampus and have more of the alpha5 subunit of GABAA receptor or GABRA5 proteins - those that inhibit conductance in the brain.

In this particular study, feeding the mice cinnamon actually altered the proteins that are associated with poor learning thereby improving learning and memory. After consuming cinnamon, the mice metabolized it into sodium benzoate, which can be used as a treatment for brain damage. The sodium benzoate actually helped the mice by increasing the beneficial CREB in the brain and decreasing inhibitory GABRA5 which increased the ability of the hippocampal neurons to change. These changes that resulted improved memory and learning. After 1 month of cinnamon consumption, those mice originally considered poor learners improved in memory and learning, but the good learners were unchanged.  The lead researcher, Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., Floyd A. Davis Prof. of Neurology at Rush University Medical Center,  notes: "We have successfully used cinnamon to reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with poor learning."   I'd say this is encouraging preliminary research!

Check out the study HERE.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Recipe ReDux Post # 48: Cajun Cauliflower "Rice" and Beans

July's Recipe ReDux theme is "Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape" and we were encouraged to develop a recipe using fruits or veggies in unusual shapes/creative cuts.  Cauliflower had been on sale at my local Sprouts Market last week so I eagerly bought 2 large heads. As the week wore on I started to realize the cauliflower had been just sitting in my fridge and it needed to be eaten!! I decided it would be the perfect veggie to work with for this challenge and I thought it would be a good idea to try my luck at another cauliflower rice recipe.  As you may recall, I have made a faux risotto with cauliflower rice with turned out great.  This time I went for simple pairing of cauliflower rice with black beans and spiced it up with some Cajun flair.  Just four ingredients combine to make a super yummy dish that can be served as a side with your favorite protein, or even be a meal itself served over salad or topped with avocado, cheese and salsa! It is high in fiber and protein and low in fat too, which is a bonus!! I hope you will give it a try and take a look at all the other creative veggie/fruit recipes developed by the talented Recipe ReDux group!


1 large head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
Two 15 ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed well


Make the cauliflower into raw "rice " by using THIS recipe.  Add the tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet and put in the cauliflower rice and sprinkle the seasoning over it .  Saute on medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the black beans and heat for another 3-5 minutes until warmed through.

Makes 5 heaping cups, five servings

Serving size: 1 heaping cup Calories 189 Protein 12 g Carb 31 g Fiber 8 g Sugars 2 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium  136 mg


Friday, July 15, 2016

In The News: Artificial Sweeteners Can Increase Appetite!

As you may have noticed, I tend not to use artificial sweeteners in my recipes. As a dietitian,  I DO think that they may have a place in the diets of some  but...IN MODERATION.  I personally do not consume them because of the aftertaste they impart and the way they make me feel. They are a hot topic of research lately as to whether there are potential adverse health effects created by consuming them... check out this latest study done in fruit flies and mice that suggests consuming artificial sweeteners may stimulate appetite, along with decreasing sleep quality (click HERE to read).


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