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2 Ways to Take a Culinary Vacation (in Your Own Kitchen!)

Written on January 4, 2013 at 9:44 am , by

Now that the holiday season has passed, we’re experiencing a bit of cabin fever. Not all of us can jet off for a warm-weather getaway, but we can all take a trip to the kitchen to whip up meals that take our taste buds on a trip around the globe! Lindsay Nixon, author of the new book Happy Herbivore Abroad, shared two low-fat, vegan recipes to help us do just that.

Lentil Taco Meat

“I got this idea from one of my fans and now we make lentil tacos (or burritos, or enchiladas!) at least once a week. Use brown- or the greenish-colored lentils here, not red or yellow,” Nixon suggests.

This “meat” would also be great in a taco salad. (Photo courtesy of BenBella Books)

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoosn ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime (juice)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (granulated)
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder (granulated)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • nondairy milk (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  1. Pulse warm lentils in a food processor or blender until chopped up or pureed (your choice).
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Taste, adding salt or pepper as desired, plus a splash of nondairy milk or a touch of salsa if the mixture looks dry.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 137, Total Fat 1.1g, Carbohydrates 23.9g, Fiber 9g, Sugars 3.9g, Protein 9.9g

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Food Fight: Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Written on January 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm , by

chocolate bar

Photo by iStock.

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

With all the recent talk about how certain types of chocolate are indeed good for you, an excuse to eat it isn’t all that hard to find.

But before you go and start eating chocolate bar after bar though, there is a small catch to all this good-for-you business. Chocolate, no matter the type, is still a source of calories and because it tastes oh-so-good to so many of us, it’s easy to over do it. Plus, not all chocolates are created equal. To get the health benefits chocolate provides, you really have to know which chocolate bar offers the most amount of nutrients and the least amount of calorie-ridden fat and sugar.

Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Although milk chocolate may taste great, it’s not nearly as good for you as dark chocolate is. This is because milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate does. Although milk chocolate does contain cocoa solids, it’s often diluted with the addition of milk solids, sugar, and cream. Since milk chocolate does contain some cocoa solids though, its not completely void of all nutrition; however, the nutritional quality is minimal in comparison with dark chocolate, which typically has more of the original cocoa present.

This is important because the more cocoa that is present, the higher the nutritional quality. Cocoa is a fabulous source of flavonoids, a special class of antioxidants that are the primary reason chocolate is now considered to be a good-for-you treat. The more cocoa, the more flavonoids, and the better for you the chocolate becomes. Plus, dark chocolate varieties often have less added sugar and fat which can also improve its overall nutritional value.

The Benefits of Flavonoids

Flavonoids are often found in wine, fruits, vegetables, and, of course, dark chocolate. These flavonoids have been shown to reduce the amount of cell damage often implicated in heart disease. Flavonoids also help improve vascular function and can assist in lowering blood pressure. They can also enhance the power of vitamin C and prevent inflammation throughout the body when eaten in proper amounts. Some studies have also shown that they may be beneficial in keeping blood glucose levels stable and may help normalize cholesterol levels as well.
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Ghirardelli Chocolate Joins the Breast Cancer Fight

Written on October 6, 2011 at 9:45 am , by

This treat helps you do good and feel good. (Photo courtesy of Krueger PR)

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month in full swing, food companies are jumping on board to support such an important cause. Ghirardelli is ready to fight with their new line of Intense Dark chocolates—for every Intense Dark pink ribbon code entered online (code on the inside of the packaging), they’ll donate one dollar to the National Breast Cancer Foundation up to $100,000. Dark chocolate has been proven to be good for you, so why not indulge your sweet tooth this month?

We taste-tested the new chocolates in the office and they were a big hit! See what our editors thought of each variety:

“I loved the Evening Dream (with 60 percent cacao) chocolate,” says freelance editorial assistant Samantha Shelton. “If chocolate gets too dark, it gives me a stomach ache. This gives me a healthy dose, and satisfies my sweet tooth, without making me regret it later.”

“I wasn’t sure I wanted a chocolate bar with toffee bits and caramelized almonds in it (what can I say, I’m a purist), but one bite of the Toffee Interlude immediately convinced me otherwise,” says executive editor Pam O’Brien. “It’s rich, super-chocolaty and totally satisfying, plus the almonds and toffee give it a nice crunch. Yum!”

“Twilight Delight (with 72 percent cacao) was a fantastic pick-me-up to beat that 3 p.m. slump,” says fitness editor Jenna Autuori. “It had just the right amount of dark chocolate and it was easy not to go overboard because just a small piece was rich and really satisfying.”

“The Midnight Reverie (with 86 percent cacao) is amazing,” says senior editor Bethany Gumper. “I don’t always like dark chocolate, and this is very dark chocolate, but it’s rich and fudgy. I’d pair a square or two with my afternoon cup of coffee.”

For more information about this sweet campaign, visit ghirardelli.com/intensedark.

Now tell us: What’s your favorite way to support Breast Cancer Awareness month?

Taste Test: Does “Supercandy” SNAP Infusion Measure Up?

Written on September 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm , by


Photo courtesy of Formula PR

We all love indulging in candy once in a while, and with Halloween right around the corner (can you believe we’re halfway through September?), stores are flooding the candy aisles with every variety you can think of. One new treat to hit the shelves? SNAP Infusion, a “naturally designed supercandy” that’s supposed to be healthier than the regular stuff, yet taste just as good. We’re not ones to recommend a new product without giving it a whirl ourselves, so we had a little taste test in the office. Check out the results below!

We Tried: SNAP Tarts vs. Sweet Tarts

Winner: SNAP Tarts! “They taste a little bit like chewable vitamins, which I like,” says associate beauty editor April. “They have a satisfying tartness too, and I kept going back for more! I’d pick these over Sweet Tarts, especially knowing that they’re better for you.”

We Tried: SNAP Mel (caramel) vs. Rolo’s

Winner: Rolo’s…kind of. While our assistant fashion editor, Melissa, would instinctively go for a Rolo, she would pick up SNAP for help with portion control. “They taste yummy, are miniature, and they have vitamins and antioxidants,” she says. “What’s not to love?”

We Tried: SNAP Citrus Gum vs. Trident Layers’ “Wild Strawberry Tangy Citrus” Gum

Winner: It’s a tie. Digital director Christie wasn’t a fan, but says “if you like Fruity Pebbles, you’ll love this gum. Each piece is very flavorful at first, but there was a weird after taste.” Associate art director Lauren also noted the odd after taste, but says, “I love the idea of vitamins in gum. I would definitely chew it for something sweet.”

SNAP will also be featuring a gummy and bean soon! Check their website for updates on the official release.

Now tell us: Would you opt for a healthier candy, or splurge on the well-known treats?

Three Tips For Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Written on August 5, 2011 at 9:07 am , by

Keep the yummy cookie taste and lose the fat with these smart strategies. (Photo by Evan Sklar)

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

You’ll find them on supermarket shelves, in ice cream and even cereal—the humble chocolate chip cookie has come a long way from its Nestle Toll House roots in the 1930s! However, the classic sweet treats aren’t always a figure-friendly snack. We spoke with Candice Kumai, author of Pretty Delicious, to get three tips and tricks for making guilt-free cookies that are actually a good-for-you-treat!

  • Cut calories with almond milk. “Unsweetened almond milk contains only 40 calories per cup and all the fat is a healthy kind.”
  • Add nutrition. “Make your cookies nutrient-dense by adding rolled oats, raw walnuts, raw almonds, raw pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries or raisins.”
  • Swap and save! “When the recipe calls for approximately two to four tablespoons of butter, swap out half for 1/4 cup natural applesauce, 1/4 cup ripe mashed banana or 1/4 cup pureed dried dates or date paste.”

Since some say that yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Day, we took that as the perfect excuse to head straight to the kitchen after work and bake up Candice’s Totally Bananas Chocolate Chip-Oat Cookies. Now we’re hooked! The bananas add tenderness and moisture to the cookies, making them perfectly soft and decedent. For the recipe, click below.

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The One Food A Healthy Diet Should Include (It’s Not What You Think!)

Written on July 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm , by

Doctor's orders! Give your sweet tooth a treat. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Communications, Inc.)

With the recent heat wave that’s spreading across the country, we’ve been turning to all things cool when it comes to food (fruit, please!). But when we chatted with nutrition expert Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, he told us about the one food we should be grabbing off the shelves this summer…chocolate! You don’t have to tell us twice.

Chocolate is that good for you? Really?

Oh, yes. Chocolate should be an almost daily addition to your diet. It lowers blood pressure, your risk of heart disease and it’s just an amazingly healthy food.

So are you saying I should go grab the next Hershey bar I see?

No! Milk chocolate has none of the things that we’re looking for; neither does white chocolate or those beloved Hershey bars.

What type of chocolate is a smart choice then?

Dark chocolate that has a cacao content of at least 60 percent. You’ll have to pay attention to your taste buds though: the higher the cacao content, the more bitter the chocolate tastes. When it gets up to 80 percent, it’s a little bit tough to take. But if you get some that’s right between 60 and 70 percent, you’re buying something that’s loaded with good stuff. Plus it tastes really good.

How much of it should we eat?

You don’t need that much, actually—only about two squares a day.

To find out why chocolate is one of Dr. Bowden’s diet must-haves and for a delicious recipe, Read more