Tag Archives: cheese

Dairy or No Dairy?

There seems to be so much controversy over whether or not dairy is good for you. There are those who say full-fat is better than no-fat. Why all these different takes on this?

Some may say milk for each species is made for that species. Milk is even mentioned in the Bible when they talk of a land flowing with milk and honey. Curds are mentioned as well, so perhaps they found that cheese is made from milk.

Many people are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy products. Even when lactose intolerant, some can consume fermented dairy such as yogurt or higher fat content products like butter.

Full-fat dairy also is known to actually lower the risk of obesity despite the higher calorie value – most likely due to a fuller feeling it will give. Also the fats themselves are beneficial and there are vitamins present you won’t find in the lower fat versions.

It is up to you to go with what is best for you. If you have lactase problems, stick with non-dairy. If you don’t have a problem with fats, go for full-fat milk.

Pizza Farms

The Victor crew came across the term “pizza farm” and was curious about what that could mean. Well, they aren’t places where they reap the field and up pops a pizza! What we found out is that it is an actual farm that makes pizza but all the ingredients are grown on their farm.

Can you imagine eating a pizza with ingredients that fresh? You cannot get any fresher than this. Alas, the majority of pizza farms we found were out in the midwest in Minnesota and Wisconsin (known for its cheese). There are a few here and there in other states if you look hard enough.

Many require their guests bring their own utensils, plates, drinks. Many of the farms have live music as well. Be prepared to wait in line as they seem to be popular.

Pizza Farms in Minnesota
Pizza Farms in Wisconsin

No boring salads here!

Sometimes salads can be boring. That needn’t be. There are many trends out there that can add some pizzazz to your salad. The Victor crew suggests some of the following ideas:

To a green salad, add berries, apples, or other fresh seasonal fruit. Grapes or cherries are also good. If there aren’t any seasonal fruits you want to add, try dried cranberries or other dried/dehydrated fruits.

Another nice addition is nuts. You can even easily make your own candied nuts to toss in. Use some raw almonds and toss with olive oil and honey and maybe some cinnamon and roast in the oven for about 20-30 mins on low. You can make a bunch and freeze them for another time. You can do the same with pecans or walnuts too.

You can grate some cheese in your salad as well. Try using the “ribbon” side of your grater or the ribbon microplane and use cheese such as asiago or fontinella (not fontina).

As for greens, try some different types like spinach (strawberries go well with this), romaine, baby lettuce, spring mix, arugula mix, or mixture of any of them.

There are many different salad dressing that you can use with these salads. Usually vinaigrette goes well. There are different types that would work – sometimes a sweet one such as raspberry vinaigrette works well.

How Do YOU Snack?

Most likely you do. Our bodies sometimes need a pick-me-up mid-afternoon to help get us through the day. Are your snacks healthy? Are they nutritious? Are they really energizing you?

Snacks with protein along with exercise help grow muscle mass and boost metabolism and increase calorie burning. Also look for fiber to imporve digestion and keep yourself from binging on fats and sugars. So the rule of thumb is to keep a snack under 200 calories with 10 grams protein and 5 grams fiber. Let’s look at some snack ideas:

An apple and skim milk. A large apple and 1 cup skim milk will fits the above parameters. It will help relieve hunger for several hours.

Cottage cheese filled avocado. Half an avocado filled with 2 ounces 1% cottage cheese.

Canned tuna on whole wheat crackers. 3 ounces of light tuna on 6 crackers.

One cup edamame.

Asparagus and hard-cooked egg. 15 spears with one hard-cooked egg.

Try experimenting with other things like yogurt, berries, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, or nuts.

Steve Victor

Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20682477,00.html

Summer Squash

Summer squash is a type of squash that is harvested when immature and the rind is still tender and edible. I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor®: The name “summer squash” refers to its short storage life as opposed to the longer storage life of winter squash. Summer squashes include: cousa squash, patty pan/scallop squash, yellow crookneck squash, yellow summer squash, and zucchini. Summer squash can be harvested later in the season when the rind is tougher. You just have to prepare them more like a winter squash with longer cooking times.

To prepare summer squash, run it under water until the skin feels clean. Cut off and discard the ends. If the skin is tough or if the skin feels gritty after washing, peel it. Summer squash can be grated, sliced, or cut into desired pieces.

To steam summer squash, arrange the pieces in a strainer or rack over 1/2 inch of boiling water. Cover and steam just until barely tender. Drain well and toss with olive oil or your favorite sauce.

 To sauté summer squash, cook in butter or olive oil over medium-high heat until barely tender. Season with herbs of your choice, salt, and pepper. The healthiest way to sauté any vegetable is in 3 tablespoons of vegetable or chicken broth or even water. Heat liquid in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add sliced squash, cover, and “healthy sauté” for 3 minutes (1 1/2 minutes on each side). Transfer to a bowl and toss with a Mediterranean dressing or any dressing of your choice.

STUFFED SUMMER SQUASH

3 medium summer squash

1 large onion, chopped

 3 tablespoons olive oil

 1/2 pound sausage

 3 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided in half

 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided in half

 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

 4 tablespoons melted butter 

 Cook squash with 4 tablespoons water in microwave on high for 7 minutes. Cool. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Remove from pan. Saute sausage until brown. Put onion/garlic back in pan and mix with 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out leaving 1/2 inch shell. Drain scooped-out squash for a few minutes then add to sausage mixture. Put squash mixture in squash shells. Make a topping with melted butter, 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake in greased pan, covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6.

SUMMER SQUASH VEGETABLE MEDLEY

2 pounds yellow summer squash and/or zucchini, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

1/2 onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped]

 Olive oil

5-6 slices jack or cheddar cheese

Basil, dry or chopped fresh

Salt and pepper

Saute squash, onion, garlic, and bell pepper in a large saucepan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the vegetables slightly. Sprinkle with basil and stir it in. Remove from heat and add slices of cheese. Cover. In a separate frying pan, sauté tomatoes on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Juices from tomatoes should evaporate some. Add the tomatoes to the rest of the vegetables. Stir gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

SUMMER SQUASH WITH ROASTED GARLIC

 2 summer squash

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of herbs of choice

 Salt and pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each squash lengthwise into quarters. Cut spears in half crosswise and in half again until you have 16 short spears. Toss squash in olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Place in shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash until the spears and garlic begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Check squash after 5 minutes and add time in 2 to 3 minute intervals to avoid burning. Serves 4.

Thanks, Jody!

All the Best!

Steve Victor