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Fat-Fighting Foods
By Carol LeBeau
4/10/2013 2:54:30 PM


–FULL BIO
 

Spring may be in the air, but summer is just around the corner and that means swimsuit season is upon us. (At my age, it’s actually become more like capris and T-shirt season!) But whatever stage of undress you plan to display this summer, now’s the time to start paring down and tightening up.

Exercise is a great start, but eating right can get you to your goal weight faster than anything.

Like you, I hate, HATE dieting, but love little nutrition “tricks” that help maintain my weight without embarking on some cumbersome, complicated diet “program.”

Fortunately, some foods can actually help you fight fat! I’ve been “sneaking” some of these slimming super foods into my diet lately and already last year’s capri’s are feeling a little looser!

Perhaps these fat-fighting foods can help you look your best no matter what you plan to wear this summer!

1. Chili powder This spicy powder contains capsinoids, which burn belly fat. When volunteers in a 2009 study popped 6 grams of capsinoid oil a day, they lost five times as much fat as those who did not.
2. Grapefruit When volunteers ate half a grapefruit before every meal in a University of Arizona study, they shaved an inch off their waists, thanks to naringenin, which experts say may help burn fat.
3. Nonfat ricotta Muscle loss as you age can tank your metabolism. Made from whey protein, ricotta can enhance muscle building and metabolism.
4. Bell peppers Vitamin C is an unsung weight loss weapon, and one bell pepper provides twice your daily dose.
5. Romaine lettuce Filling up with a leafy green can trim the overall number of calories you eat by 10 percent; two cups of romaine rack up half your daily fill of Vitamin A, plus 11.3 percent of bone-building Vitamin K.
6. Nuts Their satisfying trifecta of protein, healthy fat and fiber can help you slim down. To slow your intake, choose nuts in their shells.
7. Melon Satisfy your sweet tooth by spooning a thick slice from the rind for just 45 calories.
8. Canned salmon Protein requires more calories to digest and keeps you feeling full. With nearly 17 grams of it per three ounces, salmon makes getting your fill of protein a breeze. (If, like me, you just can’t do canned salmon go for a small can of nice, light, white albacore tuna!)
9. Edamame Packed with an intelligent combo of protein, healthy fat and fiber, these pods are guaranteed to keep you full and satisfied for hours.
10. Dark chocolate (yes!) chips These flavor bombs put the brakes on a craving. The little pieces fool you into thinking you’re getting more, helping you eat less, finds new research.
So, fire up for swimsuit season by filling up on these fun, fat-fighting foods.

See you at the beach!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

The Best Banana Bread Ever
By Carol LeBeau
3/11/2013 3:33:57 PM


–FULL BIO
 

For decades, Tom and I frequented a cute café in Coronado called “Stretch’s….” an eclectic little eatery on Orange Avenue known for it’s huge, fresh salads. My favorite was a combo plate with an array of greens, assortment of fruit and homemade chicken salad.

But the best part was the thick slice of freshly baked banana bread that came with the salad. In all my life I’ve never tasted banana bread that good. Just writing about it makes me salivate!

But alas, the recipe for the sensational sweet bread was “Stretch’s” secret. Fortunately, I could order a loaf or two for special occasions. When it was my turn to bring snacks for my couple’s group, Bible study or girlfriend brunch, “Stretch’s” fantastic bread would be gobbled up. All I had to do was enjoy the compliments!

Sadly, “Stretch’s” was sold last year and today a new restaurant has taken over the space. Boy, I miss that warm, moist banana bread.

By chance, I recently ran into the former owner of “Stretch’s,” Vicki Jones. Vicki was also responsible for baking their famous banana bread…fresh and warm every morning for years. After exchanging pleasantries, I told Vicki how much I missed her famous bread.

Vicki quickly found a piece of paper and began writing. It took a minute for me to figure out she was giving me the “secret” recipe for her mouth-watering banana bread! Oh, joy! “Don’t worry,” Vicki smiled. “It’s not a secret anymore.”

Vicki also said it was okay to share her secret with you. So here it is…the recipe for the best darn banana bread in the universe! Enjoy!

Vicki’s Banana Bread
Mix in Kitchen Aid:
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
½ lb. margarine
4 large bananas

Mix until appears curdled

Add: 2 cups flour
1tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix until well blended (2-3 minutes)
Pour into greased loaf pan
Spread ¼ cup brown sugar on top
Cover half with walnuts
Bake at 375 for 55-60 minutes

I think it’s the brown sugar and walnuts that make it so special. Give it a try. And when it’s your turn to bring snacks, you’ll be a hero!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

When It Comes to Chocolate - Go Dark
By Carol LeBeau
2/14/2013 9:24:21 AM


–FULL BIO
 

When it Comes to Chocolate – Go Dark

There’s a new Walgreens in my neighborhood. The other day I decided to stop by the shiny, new store and pick up some eye drops. It didn’t take long to realize at Walgreens, love is definitely in the air.

My senses were overwhelmed with wall to wall displays of Valentine’s Day “stuff” from teddy bears and balloons to cards and, of course, aisles of chocolate.

With Cupid just around the corner, many of us have chocolate on our minds. And though you may fear the number of calories in those heart-shaped boxes, there are many reasons to love Valentine’s Day goodies…especially the dark chocolate treats.

I’ll bet most of you are aware of the anti-oxidant properties of dark chocolate. Anti-oxidants are those “scavengers” in the body that gobble up dangerous free radicals and other destructive molecules known to have a role in the spread of cancer.

Among foods such as fruits, veggies and teas, dark chocolate is actually one of the highest sources of two powerful anti-oxidants caked flavonoids and catechins. But wait! There’s more good news for your chocolate lovers. Here are five more reasons to treat yourself to a bite of chocolate:

1. It helps you exercise longer: A recent study found eating a tiny amount of dark chocolate before a workout helps fight fatigue. That amount used in the study was tiny…just half a square, but if it’s good quality chocolate, a small square will go a long way.

2. It’s stress relieving: When highly stressed study participants ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate (the equivalent of a Hershey’s Bar) a day for two weeks, the level of stress hormones in their bodies dropped significantly. While eating a candy bar a day can contribute to a whole new set of stresses if you’re watching your weight, it’s nice to know that dark chocolate has a measurable effect on stress levels. (Swap out the calories from a glass of wine and you won’t gain an ounce!)

3. It’s heart-healthy: Numerous studies have found that dark chocolate increases blood flow, which keeps your ticker in top shape. Those who ate small amounts of
chocolate a day had increased blood flow due to more dilated blood vessels, in addition to better heart function.

4. It’s good when you’re sick: If you can’t get the rest you need because of a nagging cough, try dark chocolate. Theobromine, an ingredient in the chocolate, has been proven to suppress a cough. Just be careful. If you’re trying to go to sleep, remember that a dark chocolate Hershey’s Bar has 30 milligrams of caffeine…the equivalent to a cup of tea.

5. It lowers blood pressure: Increasing blood flow also helps your heart in another way. A study found that eating a small square of dark chocolate a day helps regulate your blood pressure by increasing blood flow as well as dilating blood vessels and releasing nitric oxide. If you’re managing your blood pressure levels, a daily, small dose of dark chocolate may help!

So, there you have it. This Valentine’s Day, don’t be afraid to go for the chocolate –
just make sure it’s dark.

(And would one of you please remind my husband that See’s dark chocolate assortment is my fave? And yes, you can tell him I’ll share.)

Have a Happy, Healthy Valentine’s Day!
 

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

The Great Pumpkin
12/7/2012 1:38:47 PM
 

The holidays are here and that means it’s finally pumpkin season! For me, that’s reason to celebrate because I love, love pumpkin pie. My husband will tell you it’s just an excuse to eat whipped cream (another of my most fave foods!) But that’s just not true. I actually picked up

a pumpkin pie at Albertsons the other day…just for me!  Within two days, my personal pie was no more than an empty pan. 

I suppose I should feel guilty for my annual splurge of the creamy confection I have loved since childhood.  But the more I learn about what’s good about pumpkin, the better I feel.  (Ok, an entire pie is a little over-the-top.)  But it doesn’t stop there.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer – the options are endless and endlessly mouth watering this time of year.

Not only is fall’s signature squash versatile enough to fit into all the above, it also packs some powerful health perks like keeping heart health, vision and waistlines in check (although you might want to eat your pie one piece at a time!)

Here are eight reasons why the Great Pumpkin is great for your health!

Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp

A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your RDA of vitamin A, which aids vision, especially in dim light. Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.

Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss

Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories (without the whipped cream!) it can keep you feeling full longer on fewer calories.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart

Nuts and seeds, including those from pumpkins, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been show in studies to reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol.”

Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk

Like their orange comrades the sweet potato, the carrot and butternut squash, pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Pumpkins Protect the Skin

According the “Health” magazine, the same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin that may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free.

Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood

Pumpkins seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan…important in production of seratonin, one of the major players when it comes to your mood.  Web MD reports, “a handful of roasted pumpkin seed may help your outlook stay bright.”

Pumpkins Can Help After a Hard Workout

Bananas are often touted as nature’s energy bar. But a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient, potassium with 565 milligrams to a banana’s 422.  A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System

Well, maybe. Whether or not vitamin C can really ward off colds is still up for debate, but pumpkins are a solid source of the essential nutrient.  One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams recommended daily for women. (Men should aim for 75 mg.)

Tis the season for overindulging…but go for the treats featuring pumpkin and you won’t have to beat yourself up.  That creamy piece of pumpkin pie is packed with all kinds of good things for your health.  Just take it easy on the whipped cream. 

I will if you will!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

The Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt
By Carol LeBeau
11/11/2012 1:40:20 PM


–FULL BIO
 

I have a confession to make.  I am a snob.  A yogurt snob.  It hasn’t always been that way.  For years, whatever brand of good ole American yogurt was on sale – Dannon, Yoplait, Albertson’s was fine with me.

No more.  Reluctantly, but with good reason, I have joined the ranks of millions of other “snobs,” for whom the only yogurt is Greek!  And why not?  The rich, creamy, slightly tart treat is not only yummy.  It’s high in nutritional value.

Going Greek wasn’t easy.  The thicker texture and tangier taste took a little getting used to.  But today, I’m hooked on the creamy, dreamy dairy product that does more than just curb your hunger.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of Greek yogurt:

Greek yogurt is packed with protein

Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt goes through an extensive straining process that removes much of yogurt’s watery whey.  As a result, it’s much thicker and richer than regular yogurt.  According to Palomar Health registered dietitian Halle Elbling, it’s also more filling. “Generally, a six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains 14 to 20 grams of protein,” says Elbling. “Regular yogurt averages five to nine grams.”

Greek yogurt is a tasty source of calcium

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which is key to bone and teeth health, as well as heart and nerve function. Since calcium levels can vary from yogurt to yogurt, Elbling recommends reading labels so you know exactly how much of the mineral you’re getting.

Greek yogurt is good for your gut

Probiotics in Greek yogurt can not only improve your digestive health and keep the bacteria in your gut healthy, they can also boost your immune system and keep you well.  Make sure the yogurt you choose has “live and active cultures” on the label.

Greek yogurt is indulgent

Thicker than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt swirled with fresh fruit and a little honey is like a decadent dessert! When you’re craving comfort food, Greek yogurt can satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your diet.  (Just keep an eye on the sugar content.  Some yogurts can be like candy in a cup!)

Greek yogurt is versatile

OK…this tip is from me! 

I found Greek yogurt can really satisfy my hunger, so it makes a great snack. I love it after a swim or when I need a pick-me-up. But because it’s so versatile, it’s perfect with fruit and cereal at breakfast, delicious with a salad at lunch or added to salad dressing at dinner. 

Finally, if you need one more reason to go Greek here’s a bonus benefit – fewer carbs and less sugar and sodium.  This delicious, decadent dessert and snack is also a nutritional rock star! I’ve covered a lot of food fads over the years but I’ve got a hunch this one’s here to stay.

These days, when it comes to yogurt it’s Oikos, Chobani and Fage…and it’s all Greek to me!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Eating for Wellness
By Carol LeBeau
10/5/2012 2:02:47 PM


–FULL BIO
 
I have to tell you about my favorite, new cookbook!

As some of you may know, cooking is not exactly on my “Top 10 list of Fun Things to Do.”  However, since my breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year, I’ve been more concerned about my diet.   While eating healthfully has always been important, now it’s become a life or death proposition.

I don’t mean to be melodramatic.  Diet, after all, is just one of many lifestyle factors that contribute to the incidence and recurrence of cancer.  It’s just these days I want to give myself an edge eating foods with the most nutritional bang for the buck.

Well, Prevention’s new cook book, “Recipes You Can’t Live Without” couldn’t have come out at a better time.  What makes it unique is its focus on the use of healing nutrients in each of its 101 main dish recipes.   The authors made it easy for culinary-challenged people like me by designing their dishes around 14 essential nutrients.

They identified the foods that contain the highest levels of these lifesaving vitamins and minerals, and combined them in recipes that are not only good for you.  They taste good, too!

Here are the nutrients these dishes bring to the table and what they do for you.

  • Anthocyanins protect the brain, reduce blood pressure, lower diabetes risk
  • Calcium builds bone, alleviates PMS symptoms, lowers colon cancer risk
  • Carotenoids help fight cancer, boost immunity, sharpen vision
  • Fiber aids digestion, regulates blood sugar, improves cholesterol numbers
  • Folate prevents birth defects, helps treat depression, supports heart health
  • Iron maintains muscle,boosts energy, improves your mental outlook\
  • Magnesium protects against diabetes, safeguards your hearing, aids sleep
  • Omega-3 fatty acids slash heart disease risk, keep the brain healthy, prevent and treat diabetes
  • Potassium protects against stroke, helps regulate blood pressure, promotes strong bones
  • Vitamin B-12 prevents headaches, bolsters the brain, supports metabolism
  • Vitamin C keeps skin smooth, fights inflammation, reduces stroke risk
  • Vitamin D strengthens bones, provides cancer protection, helps burn fat
  • Vitamin E wards off dementia, prevents blood clots, destroys free radicals

I’m just getting started on my new, healthy recipes. So far I’ve tried the bone-building pasta lasagne made with Swiss chard, eggplant and mushrooms (absolutely delicious!) and the cancer-fighting pizza with butternut squash, spinach and fontina.  

Next, I’m going to try the brain-boosting pork (I’m an Iowa gal!) braised in Kiwi-coconut sauce with white beans.  Here’s the recipe…let’s make it together!

 

Pork Braised in Kiwi-Coconut Sauce with White Beans

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 6 (1 ½” thick) boneless pork loin chops
  • ½ lg. red onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp green curry paste (found it at Whole Foods)
  • 11 kiwifruits, peeled and chopped (about 4 c)
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks, drained and chopped
  • 6 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp slicked shallots
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle pork with ¼ tsp salt and season with pepper.  Cook chops until bottoms are browned. 2-3 min. Turn and repeat on opposite sides.  Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook onion, stirring until soft, 6 min. Add coconut milk, curry paste and 1 ½ cups of the kiwi.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until fruit is very soft, 5 min. Remove from heat.  Working in batches, carefully puree in blender.

Simmer coconut mixture in a pot.  Add pork and any juices.  Cover and simmer, turning halfway through, until pork is cooked through, 12 min.

Mix remaining ingredients and remaining kiwi in bowl.  Serve with pork and sauce.

Good…and good for you!

For more nutritious recipes, check out “101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without: The Prevention Cookbook” at www.prevention.com.

 

 

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Beets!
By Carol LeBeau
9/6/2012 1:42:14 PM


–FULL BIO
 
I hate beets! 

As long as I can remember, the taste, texture… the very smell wafting from the bowl of beets on the buffet at Souplantation makes me want to well – b_rf!   It’s visceral!  No matter how hard I’ve tried to buddy up with beets, a close encounter with the earthy, red vegetables never fails to trigger the gag reflex.

But just because I can’t stomach the red, root veggie doesn’t mean I should ignore them.  Heck, some of my best friends like beets.  Raw, cooked or pickled (ugh!), my husband digs beets.  I just have to hold my nose.

Fact is, this often unloved (I know I’m not alone!) veggie is packed with nutrition –including potassium, fiber and folate.  Just a half-cup of cooked beets provides 17% of the folate you need each day.  And like all vegetables, the big, bad beet has no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Researchers believe the red pigment (called betacyanin) in beets could protect against the development of cancerous cells and might play a role in reducing inflammation associated with heart disease.

Traditionally know for their dark, red hue, these root veggies also come in shades of gold and white.  Napoleon made the vegetable famous in 19th century France by capitalizing on the beets’ high sugar content and creating hundreds of refined sugar mills.

Beets can be steamed, boiled, pickled, roasted or eaten raw but because they contain more natural sugar than starch, they are particularly delicious (or so I’m told) oven-roasted…which concentrates the sugar rather than leaching it into cooking liquid.

So, if you can stomach it, don’t pass on that bowl of borscht!  Because when it comes to nutrition, there’s no beating the beet. 

And if borscht isn’t your thing, check out these three, easy recipes I ran across in Prevention Magazine – quick and fresh ideas for those of you who enjoy beets.

Please, don’t let me stop you. 

Cold Beet Soup

Blend together 4 med. diced cooked beets, 2 cups water, 2 Tbsp sour cream, 1Tbsp drained prepared horseradish and 2 tsp fresh dill.  Season to taste.  (Makes 3 ½ cups) Pour into 4 serving bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a dill sprig.

Roasted Beets and Sautéed Beet Greens

Trim 1 bunch med beets with tops to 1”.  Wash and chop greens and stems.

Scrub beets and wrap tightly in heavy-duty foil.  Roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, 50 minutes. Cool, peel and cut into wedges.

Sauté greens, stems and 2 tsp minced garlic in 1 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat until tender, 6 minutes.  Season.

Top beets and greens with 2 Tbsp each pistachios and goat cheese.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Beet Hummus

Rinse and drain 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas. Add to food processor with 2 med. chopped cooked beets, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ Tbsp each tahini and extra virgin olive oil, and 1 tsp chopped garlic.  Puree until smooth.  Season to taste. (Makes 2 cups.)

Serve with sweet potato chips.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Peaches!
By Carol LeBeau
8/6/2012 1:49:36 PM


–FULL BIO
 

It’s late summer and that means prime time for peaches!  And this season’s crop is well…peachy keen!

I recently picked up a bagful of the summertime staple at Boney’s Bayside Market in Coronado.  After ripening a couple of days, my perfect peaches were so sweet and juicy; I had to eat one over the sink!  And it was worth every indelicate slurp!

As we head into the “dog days” of summer, peaches are a sweet way to beat the heat.  They’re 87 percent water and contain potassium, an electrolyte that helps keep you hydrated.  They’re fat-free, low in calories and loaded with anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals.

But you need to be a peach and treat these delicate summer stone fruits with care.  They bruise and spoil easily, so avoid putting them in a fruit bowl.  Instead, let peaches ripen in a paper bag on the counter until fragrant and slightly soft to the touch.

Don’t chill them before they’re ripe – this gives the fruit an unpleasant, mealy texture.  And you may want to go for white peach varieties.  They contain less acid and have a sweeter flavor than yellow peaches.

And you don’t have to eat ‘em alone. I have three perfectly peachy recipes to share with you.  I promise they’re super easy and dee-LISH!

PEACHY CHICKEN SALAD

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 large peaches, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage (Napa, red, green or substitute broccoli slaw)
  • 4 large Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (I prefer feta!)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

(I found this wonderful recipe on Web MD and it includes a number of ingredients for a homemade dressing to accompany it. But to keep things simple in the kitchen,   I use Girard’s Champagne bottled dressing – available at all major grocery stores.  You know I’m no “foodie!”)

 

RUSTIC GINGERED PEACH TART

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Combine 4 medium peeled, pitted and sliced peaches; ¼ cup sugar and ¼ tsp. ground ginger in a medium skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently until sugar dissolves…about 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly.
  • Place a store-bought 9-inch piecrust on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Mound peaches in center.  Fold edges up and over filling, leaving center exposed.
  • Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

CHILLED PEACH SHOOTERS 

These are SO refreshing!

  • Combine ¼ cup honey, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 12 ice cubes and 3 medium, peeled, pitted and sliced peaches in blender.  Puree until smooth.
  • Pour into 8 shot glasses and garnish each with a peach slice.

A real show stopper!!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Moldy Berries?
By Carol LeBeau
7/11/2012 2:35:57 PM


–FULL BIO
 

For me, summer means the beach, a best selling book and big bowls brimming with fresh, sweet and juicy berries!  

Berries are delicious…and nutritious.  But they’re also kind of delicate.  Whether you buy them at your local farmer’s market or in bulk, like me, at Costco – berries can go bad in a hurry! Raspberries, in particular, seem to grow mold before you even get them home from the market! 

Well, here’s a helpful hint that not only keeps berries fresh longer – it keeps them from getting moldy in the first place! This timely tip for berry preservation comes from my friend, Connie.  Are you ready?

WASH THEM WITH VINEGAR!!   (It works!)

Seriously, when you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider work best) and 10 parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl it around. Drain. Rinse if you’d like (although the mixture is so diluted, you can’t taste the vinegar) and pop the little buggers in the fridge!

The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit. Amazingly, raspberries last a week or more and strawberries can go nearly two weeks without getting moldy and soft.

So, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the barrage of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and more this summer.  With the help of a little vinegar, you can keep your favorite berries fresh as long as it takes you to eat them!

Thanks Connie!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Guacamole!
By Carol LeBeau
6/6/2012 1:45:02 PM


–FULL BIO
 
When it comes to eating, I’m pretty disciplined. But all bets are off when it comes to chips and guacamole! At a Mexican restaurant…forget the entrée.  Just put the bowl of guacamole and basket of chips in front of me.  I’m good for the night.

Not only is the creamy dip yummy, guacamole is a treat I can indulge in without guilt! Avocados are good for you!

They’re full of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants. Avocados can help keep skin looking youthful by reducing inflammation. They’re also high in potassium, a mineral important to heart function. And the fat in avocados helps your body better absorb vitamins A, D and E. 

While classic guacamole is fine with me, a friend of mine likes to mix and mash her avocado dip – with amazing results.  I fell in love with her apple and mango guacamole and it got me to thinking.  What other creative combos might be out there – just waiting for a bag of salty, blue corn chips?

My search took me on an internet cooking tour where I found some great guacamole concoctions including a few from Oprah’s popular “O” Magazine. 

We’ll start with classic guacamole and go from there!

Classic Guacamole

4 ripe Haas avocados
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. finely minced garlic
Juice from one lime
1 jalapeno pepper (optional for this gringo gal!)
1 bunch cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped
½ medium Spanish or red onion finely minced

Now, to make a dip with a little attitude, start with the classic recipe and try one of these fun “adjustments!”

Goat Cheese and Poblano

Using a sheet tray, roast 1 poblano chile in 450 degree oven until skin starts to blacken and char, about 15 minutes.  Remove, let cool fully, then peel off skin.  Seed, de-stem and finely dice.  Chop 1 seeded plum tomato.  Fold poblano, tomato and 2 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese into guacamole.

Nutty Guacamole

Fold in ¼ cup chopped or toasted or candied nuts, such as pecans or walnuts.  (I love this one!)

BLT Guacamole

Chop and cook 3 strips of bacon.  Dice 1 seeded plum tomato.  Include ½ diced red onion.  Fold everything into guacamole.

Edamame Guacamole

Fold in ½ cup cooked edamame beans, 1 Tbsp hot chili sauce and a few minced basil leaves.

Margarita Guacamole

Stir in ¼ cup tequila and the zest of 1 lime.  Moisten the rim of a serving bowl and dip it in salt, then add quacamole.  (Hay carumba!  This is delicioso!)

Sushi Guacamole

Fold in 4 ounces chopped smoked salmon.  (Not my favorite, but you might love it!)

Oh!  Don’t forget my friend’s apple and mango guac!  (she got it from “O!”)

Apple and Mango Guacamole

Leave out the jalapeño from the base recipe. Dice 1 crisp apple (cored, skin on) and 1 peeled and pitted mango.  Mince a few basil leaves and 1 seeded Serrano chile.  Fold everything into guacamole.

Ole’!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.