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Old May 1 2013, 03:32 AM   #121
thestrangequark
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Kenbushway wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
If you're dying for a creamy sauce, though, a healthy alternative is pureed cauliflower. It really does have a very thick, creamy consistency, and with a few spices makes a great sauce for chicken or pasta. Or you can just puree it with some cottage cheese, fresh basil and pepper and eat it with a spoon. YUM!
I've tried looking for recipes on how to make pureed cauliflower but they think I am looking for a healthy alternative to mash potatoes. Do you have a specific way of making it yourself?
My dear, it couldn't be easier. Steam the cauliflower until it's mushy when you poke it with a fork, then throw it in the blender.

Here are some helpful tips, though: Steaming is easy. If you don't already have one, you can get a cheap steaming basket, put it in a pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the basket, and set it on the burner on high. Steam the cauliflower until it's well-mushy, since you're going to blend it anyway; the extra cooking also gets rid of the gases to keep you from getting bloated and farty. Cooking time depends on how much you're making, so poke the biggest chunk with a fork every 10 minutes or so, and when that one's soft it's done.

In fact, if you're trying to go healthy, steam all your veggies! Veggies really have great flavor that a lot of people cover up with butters and oils and dressings and sauces, but with most veggies 20 minutes steaming, and maybe a pinch of salt is all you really need. I often steam my potatoes, even, because it's just so easy to throw the whole lot of veggies in the steaming basket and do them at once.

Anyway, back to the cauliflower, adding milk or low fat cottage cheese, a bit of fresh parsley, and a dash of black pepper and salt makes for a really nice creamy sauce. If you want a creamy tomato based sauce (like a sort of vodka sauce substitute) you could mix the cauliflower with marinara. Basically, you could use pureed cauliflower anywhere a recipe is using heavy cream as a thickener. For example, this is a great thickener for soups without all the added fat.

Also, as J noted, a great way to cut down on the carb load and calories of mashed potatoes is to either use cauliflower instead, or go half and half.

What you really need to do is just experiment. Cooking is all about experimentation. And healthy cooking isn't that hard to do -- steam or roast more often than frying, fewer ingredients is usually better, less meat, more veggies, fewer starchy veggies (carrots, potatoes, peas, etc), more fibrous veggies (green beans, leafy greens, etc).
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Old May 1 2013, 04:23 AM   #122
Kenbushway
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
Kenbushway wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
If you're dying for a creamy sauce, though, a healthy alternative is pureed cauliflower. It really does have a very thick, creamy consistency, and with a few spices makes a great sauce for chicken or pasta. Or you can just puree it with some cottage cheese, fresh basil and pepper and eat it with a spoon. YUM!
I've tried looking for recipes on how to make pureed cauliflower but they think I am looking for a healthy alternative to mash potatoes. Do you have a specific way of making it yourself?
My dear, it couldn't be easier. Steam the cauliflower until it's mushy when you poke it with a fork, then throw it in the blender.

Here are some helpful tips, though: Steaming is easy. If you don't already have one, you can get a cheap steaming basket, put it in a pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the basket, and set it on the burner on high. Steam the cauliflower until it's well-mushy, since you're going to blend it anyway; the extra cooking also gets rid of the gases to keep you from getting bloated and farty. Cooking time depends on how much you're making, so poke the biggest chunk with a fork every 10 minutes or so, and when that one's soft it's done.

In fact, if you're trying to go healthy, steam all your veggies! Veggies really have great flavor that a lot of people cover up with butters and oils and dressings and sauces, but with most veggies 20 minutes steaming, and maybe a pinch of salt is all you really need. I often steam my potatoes, even, because it's just so easy to throw the whole lot of veggies in the steaming basket and do them at once.

Anyway, back to the cauliflower, adding milk or low fat cottage cheese, a bit of fresh parsley, and a dash of black pepper and salt makes for a really nice creamy sauce. If you want a creamy tomato based sauce (like a sort of vodka sauce substitute) you could mix the cauliflower with marinara. Basically, you could use pureed cauliflower anywhere a recipe is using heavy cream as a thickener. For example, this is a great thickener for soups without all the added fat.

Also, as J noted, a great way to cut down on the carb load and calories of mashed potatoes is to either use cauliflower instead, or go half and half.

What you really need to do is just experiment. Cooking is all about experimentation. And healthy cooking isn't that hard to do -- steam or roast more often than frying, fewer ingredients is usually better, less meat, more veggies, fewer starchy veggies (carrots, potatoes, peas, etc), more fibrous veggies (green beans, leafy greens, etc).
Thank you. Yeah my dad has a wok which has a steam part to it. I've used it to create a single recipe before (brown rice, carrot, celery, cabbage) but my parents didn't like it.
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Old May 1 2013, 01:23 PM   #123
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
Italian-American food tends to be southern Italian (to whatever extent it's still Italian at all). My family pretty much sneered at it, but then they came from Rome and Sardinia.
Yummy!

My mom is from Sicily, so I eat plenty of southern food growing up: pasta, pizza, bell peppers, eggplants, and olive oil everywhere. But I prefer northern food, which is slightly less Mediterranean and a bit more Western European (butter above all). My crowning moment of awesomeness was in Babylon 5, when Garibaldi prepared a pot of bagna càuda, Piedmont's most famous (and peculiar!) recipe.
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Old May 1 2013, 01:58 PM   #124
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

^ Eggplant!
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Old May 1 2013, 02:41 PM   #125
thestrangequark
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^ Eggplant!
Indeed! Possibly my favorite vegetable, though spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts vie for the top spot. The first time I cooked eggplant by myself was a disaster, though! I learned to cook most foods with my mom, but even though she made eggplant before, I somehow missed that lesson. I put a generous tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet the way I would to saute any vegetable, chopped the eggplant, and tossed it in. Little did I know that eggplant is basically a giant sponge and that my spoonful of olive oil would be sopped up in seconds! I kept adding oil and water to the pan and ended up with a gooey, oily mess.
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Old May 2 2013, 10:47 PM   #126
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

^ Sounds familiar!
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Old May 3 2013, 10:55 PM   #127
Kenbushway
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Now I am about to cook a steak in olive oil. I know it would be better to grill but I can't do that its to hot here. However, its not that bad is it? I usually saute some mushroom and onion that goes on top.
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Old May 5 2013, 03:32 AM   #128
Peach Wookiee
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Get a Foreman grill. Not the little one, but a big one. It's so easy to operate and you don't have to worry about charcoal or a full tank of propane.
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Old May 5 2013, 03:40 AM   #129
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Kenbushway wrote: View Post
Now I am about to cook a steak in olive oil. I know it would be better to grill but I can't do that its to hot here. However, its not that bad is it? I usually saute some mushroom and onion that goes on top.
It doesn't matter where I'm at, I grill 365 days a year. Some days you just have to have a hotter fire.
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Old May 5 2013, 09:48 AM   #130
Oerdin
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Just look for more fruits and vegetables and learn to shop around so you can find the lowest prices. Your cookbook is a good start but there are many more specializing in healthy food plus several highlight easy meals which can be made with no more than 10 minutes of prep time.
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Old May 6 2013, 03:24 PM   #131
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Peach Wookiee wrote: View Post
Get a Foreman grill. Not the little one, but a big one. It's so easy to operate and you don't have to worry about charcoal or a full tank of propane.
Good suggestion!
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Old May 6 2013, 03:44 PM   #132
MacLeod
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^ Eggplant!
Surely you mean Aubergine.
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Old May 6 2013, 08:11 PM   #133
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

^Indeed, I do. He played one of my favorite characters in DS9.
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Old May 7 2013, 02:11 AM   #134
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

[QUOTE=Kenbushway;8024725]
Sector 7 wrote: View Post
Kenbushway wrote: View Post
I use Cavender's Greek Seasoning (Salt-free, of course) as a salt replacement and all around seasoning. This has lowered our sodium intake considerably.
Thank very much for the advice and tips. Funny thing I was actually listening to The Ozark Mountain Daredevils song If you want to get to heaven when I clicked on the spice link.

Definitely have to lower sugar and sodium intake. I live in Ga, so I know what you mean by southern cooking. Love it but it will put you in a early grave if you have heart problems.

Could I buy this Greek seasoning at a store locally?
I think you have Harris-Teeter in GA, don't you? Even better, I've been finding it at WalMart here in NC recently.
Kenbushway wrote: View Post
Now I am about to cook a steak in olive oil. I know it would be better to grill but I can't do that its to hot here. However, its not that bad is it? I usually saute some mushroom and onion that goes on top.
No problem cooking it in olive oil, but if you have a good non-stick skillet, you don't need anything except an olive oil cooking spray.

I marinate my steaks (some people love that, some hate it) in an olive oil/vinegar type marinade. Personally, I use the Greek marinade from Aldi's... it's inexpensive and delicious. When using this type of marinade, the oil is built in so you don't need to use anything except a hot pan on the stove, or Foreman type grill.

I understand how you feel about the heat and grilling. I'm the same way. Our back porch is open and H-O-T. With my COPD, I am content these days to let someone else deal with the smoke of grilling, too.
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Old May 7 2013, 04:48 AM   #135
Bears Discover Fire
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Re: Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Okay, you asked for shopping advice.

First off, you need to shop Whole Foods like you need a hole in the head. Seriously, Whole Paycheck is for the rich and stupid. You can eat healthy at Kroger, possibly even moreso than Whole Foods because Kroger will have less process crap dressed up and marked up to look healthy.

Second, avoid the middle of the grocery store. The outer aisles and sections are where the fresh, unprocessed foods are.

Third, chicken is cheap, healthy and versatile. I buy whole chickens for like $4 & roast them buy rubbing fresh seasonal herbs, salt, pepper, paprika and crushed garlic on and under the skin, then wrapping the bird in cheesecloth soaked in olive oil before baking. From there, I make soups, stocks, sandwiches, broths etc out of it. I roast the carcass bones and boil them with fresh carrots, celery, onion and ginger to make chicken stock that I in turn use for soups and stews. Super simple and you get a ton of mileage out of it.

Shop seasonally. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area, and you will shop cheaper and healthier than buying frozen, canned or otherwise processed. The produce will taste better because it hasn't been picked unripe, sprayed with agents to fake ripe appearance and shipped up from the southern hemisphere. While the farmer's market is ideal, but not everyone has access to them. Farmer's markets are not necessarily the cheapest deal in town, either.

Do you have any ethnic markets? Those can be a great source of fresh, seasonal produce at cheap prices. I like to to go to them and pick stuff up I've never heard of, then Google recipes.

REJECT RACK. REJECT RACK. REJECT RACK. Or in the parlance of Kroger and its subsidiaries, MANAGER'S SPECIAL. Eagle eyes. Keep them peeled for those orange and yellow manager's special labels, particularly in the meat and seafood aisles. Buy fresh meats, poultry and seafood on manager's special, and PROMPTLY break it down and freeze it for later use. Also, the reject racks will often have stuff like bags of lentils, pearl barley, pastas etc.

Speaking of meat, switch from ground beef to ground turkey.

Switch from sour cream to nonfat Greek yogurt. They are almost identical in taste and texture.

Switch from cream cheese to neufatchel cheese. The latter is 1/3 less fattening, but otherwise indistinguishable. It's sold side-by-side.

Buy staples like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cornmeal etc in bulk, and make your own breads and biscuits* instead of opting for canned biscuits or mixes.

*this assumes you have more time than money. Bread baking is an art that requires practice and a lot of time, but worth it. Sooooo worth it in cost and quality. Biscuits are much quicker and easier.
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