Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Looking For A Flavorful and Exotic Protein Addition to Your Meal? Try Ceviche!!!

I have always been a big fan of ceviche, which is raw seafood that is cooked in acid such as lemon and lime juice. It is a cold, refreshing, low-calorie and healthy source of protein (w/some veggies). The best ceviche I have ever had was la costera ceviche- a tomato-based ceviche- at Xilantro in Wayne, which has unfortunately closed. However, I recently attended an RD networking event at Xolo Tacos in Bryn Mawr,PA, and I have to say… they make a pretty delicious ceviche and had some very interesting food options that I was super excited about including huitlacoche /corn smut (corn fungus!), nopales (cactus leaf), and zucchini flowers. Regardless, this blog is about ceviche (though I feel like there may be another blog coming on the health benefits of the corn fungus...).

Making my own ceviche has always intimidated me, as I am always iffy about preparing my own raw seafood. I generally only get raw seafood at a sushi restaurant or buy sushi-grade fish. So, I decided for my first ceviche endeavor, I would start with a “safe” and easy recipe, so it is not traditional because it is not completely raw. I created this recipe by reading a Coastal Living magazine that had a bunch of recipes, and I kind of took pieces from a few. Below is what I came up with, which I’m pretty proud of!

Kelly’s Easy Ceviche
My homemade ceviche

  •           ~ 1 cup Trader Joe’s frozen Seafood  Blend (or about 4 oz of any     mix of  seafood/shellfish)
  •           Juice of 1 lime
  •           Juice of 1 lemon
  •           1 tsp chopped garlic
  •           1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  •           Pinch of salt
  •           1 tsp Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce (or any hot sauce w/o    added sodium)
  •           6 cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
  •           ¼ medium onion
  •           ¼ medium cucumber
  •           1 ½ tsp avocado oil (can sub olive or other types of oils)

Trader Joe's Frozen Seafood Blend

Directions (condensed version):
1. Thaw seafood in refrigerator overnight or for a few hours until soft.

2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Blanch  seafood in boiling water for ~1 minute.

3. Drain hot water and put seafood in ice bath to chill immediately after cooking.

4.  Juice lemon and lime in a bowl. Add all other ingredients.

5. Pour ingredients over seafood in Tupperware. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours prior to eating.

6. Enjoy with avocado, on whole grain crackers, in whole grain tortillas, in salads, and more!

Directions (detailed version):
To start, I thawed out 1 cup of Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend (scallops, shrimp, and calamari) and put in a bowl. I then brought a small saucepan filled with 1 cup of water to a boil and threw in the seafood just to cook briefly ~1 minute.

From there, I juiced 1 lime and 1 lemon in a separate bowl. Adding to that, I mixed in garlic, chopped fresh cilantro, a pinch of salt, dash of Trader Joe’s habanero hot sauce, jalapeno (with ½ the seeds), tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and avocado oil. I then poured that vegetable/juice mixture on top of the seafood and mixed together. I put in a Tupperware container and let sit in the fridge for a few hours before dinner.

I chose to eat this ceviche as a starter to my kale quinoa salad- which created the perfect well-balanced meal! I also added in some avocado into both the ceviche and salad for a healthy source of fat.

I only made one cup worth because I am not keen on keeping seafood for several days (not ideal in terms of food safety)- so this lasted me the day I prepared it and one more serving for the next day. Obviously, you can increase the serving depending on the amount of people you’re feeding.

Overall, this was a super simple thing to make, delicious, and tastes like it should be really expensive (though I would estimate this recipe cost me a total of <$4/serving- the Trader Joe’s Seafood blend is $7.99/lb [one bag] and I used about ¼ lb of it). I plan to incorporate this into my regular dinner routine from now on!

Monday, March 14, 2016

I've given in to the social demands of society... I am now on Twitter!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Best/Healthiest Substitute for Pasta: Organic Edamame Spaghetti

One of my very generous clients recently gave me a huge Costco box of “Explore Asian” Edamame Spaghetti for me to try. She and others had been telling me about it and when I looked at the nutrition information I quickly gave my stamp of approval since the only ingredient is organic edamame. However, I had never personally tried it up until last week. Previously I had made the Explore Asian black bean spaghetti for my family and friends, which I have to say did not go over too well due to the fact it seemed dry, tasteless, and was not an adequate substitute for pasta at all. In defense of the black bean spaghetti, the nutritionals on it are exceptional since it is only made from black beans.

I was blown away by the quality of the Edamame spaghetti. For being a nutrient powerhouse, it actually does make for a good substitute for pasta in terms of texture and appearance. Calorie-wise, it is very comparable to eating regular spaghetti, at about 210 calories for 2 oz. However, nutrient-wise regular semolina pasta doesn’t even come close.  The edamame spaghetti has a whopping 24 grams of high-quality protein (compared to 6-8 g of low biological value protein found in semolina/regular spaghetti) and 11 grams of fiber (compared to the pathetic 2 grams in the white grain form). Additionally, you get 30% of your daily value of iron, some Vitamin A, C, and Calcium with the edamame version, not to mention the healthy isoflavones attributed with soy. These isoflavones exhibit antioxidant properties which have shown extremely beneficial for lowering cholesterol and have shown to help prevent many illnesses and may help ease menopause symptoms. For more info on soy, please refer to my previous blog on the subject.

Ever since I tried this edamame pasta, I have been recommending it to almost all of my clients as a great way to feel like they are eating something indulgent, while actually being very good for you. This “pasta” is especially good for my vegetarian clients or those that don’t eat much lean protein since the spaghetti is going to be your protein source for the meal. Additionally, since it is made from nothing but soybeans, it is good for those on a gluten-free diet.

Another benefit of this “pasta” is it takes about five minutes to cook, so it can be a very quick and healthy meal. So, I have been recommending people make a big bowl of spaghetti primavera with tons of veggies and up to a cup of the edamame spaghetti. I have enjoyed the edamame spaghetti this way, but I think it works well as cold or hot sesame noodles too, below is how I have made it:

Kelly’s Sesame Edamame Noodles
Makes 1 serving*

1 oz edamame spaghetti (~ ½ c cooked)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp honey
2 tsp sesame seeds

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil- add edamame spaghetti and simmer for 4 minutes
2. Heat oil, soy sauce, and honey in pan, add cooked edamame spaghetti
3. Top with sesame seeds and add to big bowl of stir-fried veggies for a very low-calorie and healthy meal!

* Note: Recipe can be increased to make more servings. For my clients looking for a “complete” meal according to my standards, I recommend adding your proper portion of 100% buckwheat soba noodles.

Nutrition info w/o added veggies: 175 calories, 7 g fat (3 g MUFA, 3 g PUFA), 15 g carb, 6 g fiber, 13 g protein (calculated using Diet Master Pro software)

DISCLAIMER: I did not receive any form of compensation or incentive to write this post advocating the consumption of Explore Asian products- I simply believe in and recommend this specific product. :-)