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Healthy

Healthy, Hungry for Louisiana, One Pot, Soups, Vegetables

Down to the Bones: Which ones are best for great soup?

February 23, 2016

I thought I’d squeeze in one more hot soup blog before the weather gets toasty and our thoughts turn elsewhere.

Lately, I’ve been making a big pot of vegetable soup on the weekends, starting with homemade beef stock. I went through a phase when I bought beef stock from the store – there are so many good quality ones these days, and it definitely saves time – but honestly, nothing compares to the real thing. And last year, I got inspired to return to homemade stock after we did a fun 225 Magazine story on great local soups. I had the best time picking the brains of local chefs on what makes their signature soups so delicious. Some soups were cream-based, and their success turned on straightforward decadence. But others, like Dang’s pho, MJ’s Café’s black bean and Galatoire’s Bistro’s turtle, were soups that rose and fell on house-made stocks. No surprise, they were tended for many hours at a time.

Chef Kelley McCann at Galatoire’s Bistro told me about roasting a medley of veal bones, including lots of gelatinous joints, before simmering them for hours in order to make a super rich reduction for the restaurant’s signature turtle soup. Even Maureen Joyce’s vegetable stock, used in her black bean soup at MJ’s, called for overnight slow-roasting of multiple root vegetables. Soup seems so simple, but a really good soup requires some behind-the-scenes work.

I’m not sure I have that much time to devote, but I can certainly muster a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon while I’m hanging out with my family and doing loads (…and loads…) of laundry.

So, the question is, which bones are best for creating a stock that makes your soup sing?

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Fresh produce, Healthy, New Year's, Salads, Vegetables

3 yummy choices for salad-a-day resolutions

January 5, 2016

My friend Elena once set a clear and simple personal goal: eat a salad everyday. The resolution was straightforward and easy to measure, exactly as a doable goal should be. Elena’s idea was that by committing to a daily dose of green, she was assured of a healthy injection — no matter what the rest of the day brought.

I love salads – and I love this idea. It checks so many boxes. Salads are affordable and generally good for you. You can change them up daily, creating something substantial and rich in protein, or something light and refreshing. They’re seasonal, portable and naturally stress-reducing. All that crunching takes your mind off life’s realities.

This week, I’ve got three comforting and filling salads that will start your new year off right. Enjoy.

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Healthy, One Pot, The Family Life, Weeknight

5 ways to perk up chili night

December 21, 2015

Of all the one-pot dishes you might make this holiday season, I’ll argue that a big ol’ batch of chili is the easiest. There’s no roux involved. It doesn’t require sourcing or cleaning seafood. It’s fun to serve with a topping bar. And it’s universally beloved by kids and adults.

Chili is so fast and easy that sometimes I make it too much, so I’ve been working on keeping it interesting.

Here are five ways to enliven your chili habit as you head into frenzied holiday entertaining. Enjoy.

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Celebrations, Christmas, Citrus, Fruit, Healthy, Kumquats, Local, Louisiana, Salads, Southern, Thanksgiving

Ambrosia revisited: Southern holiday fruit salad goes all natural

November 24, 2015

For the record, I’m a big fan of the mini-marshmallow.

Big fan.

One of my greatest food memories is cozying up to a marshmallow-y fruit salad — classic Southern ambrosia – that someone brought to my maternal grandfather’s after funeral gathering. I’ll never forget the way the baby marshmallows melted into the citrus juice, creating creamy goodness and a perfect comforting texture. I couldn’t stop eating it. Years later, I similarly fell in love with something called Green Stuff, a congealed cottage cheese and marshmallow fruit salad made by an old boyfriend’s mother and always served at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Yum. I love a bowl of trashy.

But as much as I savor marshmallows, and as much as I bow down to tradition, this year, I wanted an all-natural version of the classic holiday side….

Ambrosia

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Appetizers, Cooking with Kids, Fall flavors, Halloween, Healthy, Holiday

Remember popcorn balls? Try these with honey and trail mix

October 15, 2015

Popcorn balls, at once gooey, sweet and crunchy, are a classic fall treat. They’re perfect Halloween party fare and they’re great for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, too. This version, developed by nutritionists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center here in Baton Rouge, is also nice for after school snacking because it’s made with honey instead of the typical binder, corn syrup. You can really get creative with the trail mix additions, too.

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Cooking with Kids, Healthy, Vegetables

Healthy snacks for the back to school frenzy

August 18, 2015

Recently, my friend Katy asked if I had any suggestions for healthy snacks for young people. Her high school aged daughter is a dancer, and finding lunchbox and afternoon snacks that offered nutritional value and not just empty calories was a challenge. I’ve got two swimmers and a runner in my household, and now that school has resumed, I’ve been asking myself the same question. Truly nutritious snacks take more thought than that oversized box of Sun Chips from Costco, and it’s not easy when you’re operating at break-neck, back-to-school speed.

For advice, I shot an email to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, an international leader in nutritional research and a sometimes overlooked local resource here in Baton Rouge. In addition to ground-breaking metabolic research, Pennington also has lots of easy recipes and healthy eating tips. PBRC staff members Alisha Prather and Stephanie Malin fired back a list of kid-tested snacks that don’t require a ton of ingredients.

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