Friday, December 7, 2012

Canadian Bacon and Kale Chowder

Contributor | KRISTINA
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We had this delicious soup a few nights ago for dinner. We dipped artisan bread into the cheesy goodness and all of us were satisfied with this filling meal. The kids loved it too. 

It was a recipe I created using the combination of a chicken broth base with a roux-a mixture of flour, milk, butter and cheese, added at the end. So, the healthy part was all the vegetables-kale, corn, onions, green onions and potatoes. The Canadian bacon was much leaner than regular bacon, at only 60 calories a serving (3 slices) and 1.5 grams of fat. The smokey flavor added a lot to the soup, too. And, the indulgent part was the real butter and cheese added to the soup. But you could always use reduced fat and less of those ingredients if you wanted to.

Here's what went into the chowder: 

2 liters of chicken broth (I used Better than Bouillon Organic Reduced Sodium)
12 diced slices of smoked Canadian bacon
1 head of kale, torn into small pieces
1 can of corn
1 diced onion
3 diced green onions
3 diced potatoes

for the roux: 

2 c. milk
2c. shredded cheddar cheese 
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. whole white wheat flour

Add broth to a large pot and allow to boil, then reduce heat.

Dice potatoes, bacon, onions, kale and add to pot. Add can of corn too. 
Cover and simmer 15 minutes. 

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and mix well. 
Gradually stir in milk and cook over low heat until slightly thickened. 
Stir in cheese and cook until melted. 
Add to broth mixture. 
Cook and stir over low heat until heated. Add pepper and a dash of salt.
Serve with bread. 

Variations on this soup: If you're vegetarian, try vegetable broth with Great Northern beans. Add lots of different vegetables, like carrots, celery or green beans.

Jeff & Kristina at the Empty Spoon Blog

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why eat potatoes and onions?

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Contributor | JEFF 

One thing I plan to do on this blog is... create simple ways for people to see the health benefits of foods we eat everyday. Today we are having 7 layer dish for dinner it is amazingly delicious and healthy! We will share the recipe soon! Feel free to pin this and share with friends. I plan to post one or two of these a week.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What I ate and why it's good for me

Contributor | JEFF & Kristina 

Today we are starting a blog all about food. Good food, that is. I am challenging myself to work on making and eating things that are both healthy for me but still full of flavor. I have always struggled with eating right...especially eating breakfast. But about a year and a half ago, my wife started taking weight loss and portion control seriously. She started to lose more and more weight until she was at a much healthier weight. Also, seeing some of the health problems my family members have gone through makes me want to focus more on prevention as much as possible. 

So, I'm inspired by my wife and we have decided to do a fun food blog surrounded by eating good food but also staying healthy. I was always worried that I would lose a part of who I was if I was decided to eat healthy...(well now I want to lose a lot of who I weight loss that is).
 My wife and I love to entertain and we love food and people, so food was something that always brought friends together in my life. One goal we have is to share with you all how we can still eat good food and be healthy for the most part. Don't worry, there will still be room for  little indulgences...but we are working on making even those a less fattening and sugary. This blog will a log of my weight loss journey, with confessions and triumphs. We invite you to journey along with us! 

Here's a list of what I ate for breakfast this morning and what the health benefits are: 

Eggs : Eggs are high quality complete proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids. Eggs have the distinction of being one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

Grape Fruit : 
Grapefruit is a rich source of Vitamin C
Grapefruit is rich in lycopene (the red color/pigment), it helps to prevent to occurance of tumor and cancer.

-Helps in cases of Cold, Pneumonia, Fever 
It is a powerful drug-poison eliminator 
-Helps in proper digestion of food 

Oat Meal : Oatmeal contains a special strand of fiber called beta-glucan that studies have shown reduces levels of bad cholesterol—and as high cholesterol is a major risk factor associated with heart disease and strokes, a daily bowl of oatmeal could be a life saver!  

Green Tea: 
  1. Weight Loss. 
    Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories.
  1. Diabetes. 
    Green tea apparently helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage.
  1. Heart Disease. 
    Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.
  1. Esophageal Cancer. 
    It can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
  1. Cholesterol. 
    Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
  1. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 
    It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
  1. Tooth Decay.
     Studies suggests that the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
  1. Blood Pressure.
     Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  1. Depression. 
    Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
  1. Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial. 
    Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
  1. Skincare. 
    Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.

-Helps in cases of Gallstones 
-Lowers cholesterol
-Boost Immune System
-Stabilizes blood pressure
-Lowers risk of diabetes 

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