All Entries For bryn mooth

10 Ways to Eat Pumpkin (That Aren't Pie)


Whipped cream-laden Thanksgiving pie notwithstanding, pumpkin has a healthy nutritional profile, with more than 200% of our RDA of Vitamin A, plus about one-third of our daily Vitamin C and nearly one-quarter of our fiber requirements. And it has just 40 calories per serving. (Without that whipped cream, of course.)
 
Canned pumpkin is widely available in grocery stores during the fall/winter holiday season. (Note: Be sure to grab plain pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix in a can, which includes sweeteners, spices and other ingredients to make a pie.) One can of pumpkin contains about 1 3/4 cup. Some canned pumpkin can have a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best suited for sweet recipes. For pumpkin-based dips or sauces, try making your own pumpkin puree; it’s super easy.
Posted 11/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 33 comments   71,484 views
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10 New Ways to Eat Tomatoes


Tips for Best Tomato Taste
Choose unblemished ripe tomatoes from a farmers’ market or your family garden. Heirloom varieties come in different flavors and colors—for example, yellow tomatoes are generally milder and less acidic; some types remain green when fully ripe. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator; they’ll lose flavor and get mealy. To make peeling easier, core the tomato, then scrape the blade of a small paring knife over the skin to loosen it.
 
Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Halve ripe tomatoes lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the sheet in the oven on the lowest temperature (150 to 170 degrees) and let the tomatoes dry for 8 hours, until they’re shrunken but still a little plump. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months. Keep reading for nine more ideas!
Posted 6/27/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 25 comments   45,262 views
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13 Easy, Tasty Ways to Eat Brown Rice


Why does brown rice get such a bad rap? Sure, rice can be a little bland. And yes, the brown version does take longer to cook. But here’s the thing: In addition to being one of the healthiest foods in the human diet—rich in fiber, cholesterol-lowering fats and nutritious minerals and antioxidants—brown rice has a deep, nutty flavor and hearty texture that’s anything but boring.
 
White rice is highly processed brown rice that’s been stripped of its bran—and nearly all its nutrients. You’ll find short- and long-grain varieties; short-grain rice tends to be more sticky and compact when it’s cooked, while long-grain rice is fluffier. You may also be able to find quick-cooking brown rice (which is partially cooked and then dried). Brown rice is different from wild rice (which is actually a grass, not a rice), though they’re delicious together. Here are some great ways to enjoy brown rice:
 
Cooking brown rice.
To make 3 cups of cooked rice, bring 1 cup of brown rice, 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on the pan and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. (You can also make brown rice in the slow cooker.)
 
Oven-Baked Brown Rice.
This SparkRecipes member recipe is dubbed “foolproof”; it’s baked in a foil-covered dish in the oven for an hour.
 
 
Prepared And Make-Ahead Brown Rice.
You’ll find already-cooked brown rice on your grocery shelf, and it’s a quick and easy way to enjoy this staple. Too, cooked rice freezes well, so if you plan to cook a batch of brown rice for a recipe, make double what you need and freeze the rest for up to 6 months.

Now, onto those recipes and meal ideas... 
Posted 6/13/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 45 comments   327,435 views
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10 New Uses for Zucchini


Got zucchini? Make the most of this prolific veggie, with easy and healthy main dishes, sides and yes, even dessert.
Posted 4/30/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 75 comments   1,449,579 views
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Try This 42-Calorie Spaghetti Swap


Fall and winter squash varieties, including acorn, butternut and spaghetti, are now showing up in farmers’ markets. You’ll be delighted by how delicious, easy to prepare and versatile spaghetti squash can be.
 
Spaghetti squash is named for its uncanny resemblance to pasta once cooked. The squash is tasty yet neutral enough to pair with anything you would normally eat atop pasta.
 
And, if you're watching your carb intake, spaghetti squash should go in your cart. Take a look at how it measures up against standard noodles:
Posted 4/2/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 109 comments   496,260 views
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10 Ways to Dress Up Scrambled Eggs


At about 70 calories apiece, eggs are a sensible way to get protein into your diet. But eggs aren’t just for breakfast; who hasn’t enjoyed a plate of simple scrambled eggs as a quick and easy dinner?
 
Still, scrambled eggs need a little something extra if you’re going to make a fine meal out of them. Here are 10 ways to take this humble dish from so-so to so good!
 
How to Make Great Scrambled Eggs
In our book, the best scrambled eggs are soft and creamy, not firm and dry. For a single serving of scrambled eggs, warm about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Use a fork to stir two eggs, just until the yolks are broken up (no need to whisk them silly). Pour the eggs into the skillet; let cook over low heat for a minute and then use a wooden spoon to stir the eggs, creating soft curds.

Gently cook and stir until the eggs until they’re creamy, and take the pan off the heat just before you think the eggs are done (they will continue to cook off-heat). Season with salt and pepper.
 
Scrambled Eggs with Beans and Salsa
Warm some canned beans and a bit of diced bell pepper while you’re scrambling your eggs, and top this Tex-Mex favorite with nonfat Greek yogurt and prepared tomato salsa.
 
Fried Rice with Egg
Scramble an egg until it’s firm and a little dry, then slice it and add it to your favorite fried rice recipe. We love Chef Meg’s healthy version of fried rice.
Posted 3/14/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 19 comments   50,234 views
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Load Up on Lentils: 10 Healthy Recipes


Don’t love lentils? We’re here to convince you otherwise. People have been eating lentils for millennia; they’re common in Mediterranean, Asian and Indian cuisines.
That’s no surprise: These tiny legumes are packed with dietary fiber, protein and valuable nutrients including folate and magnesium, so they’re healthful additions to your plate. In fact, they are one of the best meatless protein sources.
 
Beyond those benefits, though, they’re just delicious: pleasantly earthy in flavor, with a hearty texture that’s really satisfying. (In fact, if you don’t love lentils, you may have found them mushy and overcooked.) Lentils are typically sold dried—you’ll find black (Beluga), red, green or French (du Puy) varieties—and they’re super easy to cook and incredibly versatile. Here are 10 great ways to make lentils a healthy part of your diet:
 
Lentils 1, 2, 3
Think 1, 2, 3: 1 cup of dried lentils plus 2 cups of water yields about 3 cups of cooked lentils. You can double or reduce the amounts to suit your recipe. Lentils freeze beautifully, so you’re smart to cook a double batch and freeze what you don’t use right away.
 

Cooking Lentils, Part 1

To cook black, green or French lentils: Place the dried lentils in a colander and rinse under cool water; pick out any debris or shriveled lentils. Bring lentils, water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Begin tasting for doneness after 20 minutes; you want the lentils cooked al dente, like pasta—cooked through, but not at all mushy.
 

Cooking Lentils, Part 2

Red and orange (and some green) lentil varieties are commonly split, so they cook much faster than their darker cousins. Also, they get softer with cooking, almost disintegrating, so red and orange lentils are great for soups or for Indian dishes. Use the same proportions of water and lentils, and cook for about 10 minutes.
 
 

Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

Bacon or sausage are flavorful partners to lentils, and this easy soup features big chunks of root vegetables and rounds of cooked Italian sausage; substitute chicken sausage if you’d like.
Posted 3/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 23 comments   56,364 views
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What to Serve with Chicken: 10 Quick & Easy Side Dishes


When it comes to the protein portion of a healthy diet, boneless, skinless chicken is a hero. It’s versatile, easy to prepare and naturally lower in fat and calories than many other meat options. But by itself, chicken can be, well, a little boring.
 
Baked, grilled or roasted chicken is probably a regular part of your dinner rotation. So you’ll need some great side dishes for chicken that add a little spark to the plate. We’ve gathered 10 side dish recipes to help you bring new life to that chicken dinner.
 
 
Green Beans with Miso and Almonds
If you haven’t tried miso, the flavorful, fermented Asian ingredient made from soy, then you should. Miso adds umami, or savory flavor, to any dish. Serve this recipe as a side dish for grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic and lime.
Posted 2/25/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   353,931 views
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10 Retro Comfort Foods, Updated


One big food and cooking trend that we’re keeping an eye on is the continued resurgence of old-fashioned recipes and methods. You may see this trend showing up in food magazines, which are emphasizing cooking techniques your grandmother would recognize (like roasting and slow cooking) or in your favorite restaurant (wood-fired breads and pizzas are hot).
 
Old-fashioned recipes have lots of appeal: They’re time-tested favorites. They don’t require fancy ingredients. These are easy recipes for uncomplicated dishes. From breakfast to dinner to dessert, here are a few of our favorite—healthier—versions of old-school comfort foods you’ll love.
 
Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
You’ll remember this classic combination from childhood: grilled cheese and tomato soup. This soup is creamy and delicious without a bit of dairy. And the grilled cheese sandwiches feature whole-grain bread and added vegetables.
Posted 2/18/2013  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   18,735 views
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A Dozen Quick Ways to Use Rotisserie Chicken


That lovely, roasty aroma hits you when you walk into the grocery on your way home from work and you spy a display case of rotisserie chickens near the checkout aisle. Of all the convenience foods on the store shelves, this one’s a good choice—a simple roast chicken, a good tossed salad and a loaf of whole-grain bread can make a satisfying, healthful and easy dinner.
 
A store-bought roast chicken can easily feed a family of four—and there’s more you can do with it than simply slicing and serving. Shredded or diced roast chicken can star in all kinds of easy meals. 
 
For these meal ideas, start with a store-bought chicken, or try this slow cooker version.
Posted 1/25/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 27 comments   70,452 views
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Better than Store-Bought: Blueberry Muffins


Editor's Note: This is a part of a series about how to re-create some of your favorite healthy foods at home.
 
A double-dose of blueberries (frozen and dried) gives these muffins extra flavor, and whole-wheat flour adds fiber. Although they’re not the oversized, mile-high sugar bombs you might find at a gourmet bakery, these double-blueberry muffins are pleasantly light-textured in spite of being made with nearly half white whole-wheat flour.
 
At just 125 calories each, these blueberry muffins make a not-too-guilty treat to start your day. Add a carton of low-fat yogurt, and you have a satisfying and delicious breakfast of under 300 calories. (Compare that to a "low-fat" blueberry muffin from your favorite coffeehouse, which has 430 calories!)
Posted 12/21/2012  8:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   15,308 views
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10 Healthy, Easy Ways to Cook Squash of All Sorts


Squash is one of those vegetable categories that spans a whole range of colors, flavors, shapes, textures and growing seasons. From acorn squash to zucchini, this veggie family has it all, including nutrients, fiber and fewer than 75 calories per serving.
 
Summer varieties (like zucchini and yellow squash) are nutritious, with antioxidants and carotenoids; they’re ideal for sautéing. (Try: 10 New Uses for Zucchini)
 
Hard-skinned winter squashes (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A and roast beautifully. And spaghetti squash makes a delightfully different (and super low-cal) substitute for pasta.
 
 
Posted 12/14/2012  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 19 comments   27,640 views
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7 Easy, Delicious Ways to Eat Leftover Turkey


Ahhh, roast turkey: that centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. How frequently do we prepare turkey throughout the rest of the year? Not as often as we might; turkey can be very straightforward to cook and, thanks to its high-quality protein and low levels of fat (particularly lean turkey breast) can be a healthful option, too.
 
If you find yourself with a pile of turkey leftovers this holiday season, we have a few clever ways to make next-day use of the Thanksgiving bird. And if you’re looking for good year-round turkey recipes, we’ve got you covered there as well.
Posted 11/23/2012  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 26 comments   23,368 views
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Better Than Store-Bought: Multi-Purpose Baking Mix


Baking mix is an easy pantry staple—because it includes leavening and shortening, you can quickly transform the mix into pancakes, biscuits or quick breads by adding liquid (usually milk and/or eggs).
 
Did you know how simple it is to make your own? This Homemade Multi-Purpose Baking Mix incorporates whole-wheat flour and costs about the same (about 15 cents) per serving as the national brand. It has about 15% fewer calories and 70mg less sodium per serving, as well. It is sugar- and dairy-free.
 
Keep this Homemade Multi-Purpose Baking Mix in a plastic container or bag and refrigerate it up to 6 months. Substitute this in place of the name-brand store-bought baking mix. For example, it works well in a classic streusel-topped coffee cake.
 
Here's how to use your baking mix!
Posted 9/20/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 35 comments   25,492 views
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Better Than Store-Bought: Granola Bars


Editor's Note: This is a new series about how to re-create some of your favorite healthy foods at home.

Granola bars are a healthy on-the-go snack, but some packaged versions contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and sweet ingredients that negate some of that nutritional benefit. This homemade granola bar recipe includes whole grains, natural sweeteners, healthy nuts and dried fruit, with protein and fiber to keep you going. Even better: The recipe is super adaptable. You can adjust the amount of brown sugar to suit your taste, and add any combination of dried fruit you like, or omit the fruit. Neither rock-hard nor super soft, this crunchy-chewy granola bar lives up to its good-for-you reputation.
Posted 8/9/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 42 comments   42,258 views
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