Shopping for healthier food. Need Help.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Kenbushway, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  2. Kenbushway

    Kenbushway Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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 cĂ uda, Piedmont's most famous (and peculiar!) recipe.
     
  4. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Eggplant! :adore:
     
  5. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Sounds familiar! :lol:
     
  7. Kenbushway

    Kenbushway Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  8. Peach Wookiee

    Peach Wookiee Cuddly Mod of Doom Moderator

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    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.
     
  9. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    It doesn't matter where I'm at, I grill 365 days a year. Some days you just have to have a hotter fire.
     
  10. Oerdin

    Oerdin Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  11. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good suggestion!
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Surely you mean Aubergine. :p
     
  13. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Indeed, I do. He played one of my favorite characters in DS9. ;)
     
  14. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  15. Bears Discover Fire

    Bears Discover Fire Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Excellent advice, Bear Discovers Fire!:techman::bolian:
     
  17. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hey, long time no see. *raises beer* Da...Bearss! :techman:
     
  18. Kenbushway

    Kenbushway Captain Captain

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    Georgia, USA
    Thanks for the advice. Yeah I don't have a whole foods close to me, its 40 minutes away and expensive (its called Henry's). Kroger is good for fresh fruit, plus they are expanding their organic section. My mom works at Costco, so I get a membership. I can easily buy a 50lb bag of flour. I do have to be careful. Our neighborhood was built fast and cheap (air conditioner to small for the house) so when its gets hot here (like currently) its impossible to bake anything. That is why I dusted and cleaned up an old crock pot we have. Missing a handle on it but it will still close. I've been really looking into slow cooker recipes. Recently found french bread dip recipe (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Slow-Cooker-French-Dip/Detail.aspx) that I've just got to try. Sorry I don't have any ethnic markets where I am in Ga currently. I buy Kroger brand products and we get all their deals through accounts I have with them. I get an email every week. Kroger doesn't have good deals on ground Turkey, you have to pay 7$ + for a very small container of ground Turkey. So I don't know if that transition is possible. Yeah some of recipes I currently have ask for creams and I am trying to look for lower cholesterol healthier forms but I don't know how stocked Kroger is on the extra. Oh I love bread, a bit to much though, borders on the un-healthy side. Do you have any advice with slow cookers? Could I switch completely from stove top cooking to crock pot?
     
  19. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Aldi's has ground turkey in a 1 pound chub for about $1.79, so no excuse for not switching to ground turkey. They also have a weekly newsletter.

    Google is your friend. When it comes to crock-pot cooking, internet searches are great. I get daily e-mails from Mr. Food. Many are not diabetic friendly, although they do have a section for that. They DO have many slow cooker recipes, though.
     
  20. Kenbushway

    Kenbushway Captain Captain

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    I still have a problem with the ground turkey, there isn't an Aldi's near me.