While “saucy” people can add some playful feistiness to any gathering or meal, we are going to discuss saucy foods here — what types, how much, recipes, sauces when eating out, and hidden culprits.
Gettin’ saucy with our food can work in many ways. When dining out or ordering in, the amount of sauce that comes with your dish can be overwhelming. Even if you make a healthy selection of tilapia, what comes on top of the fish can lead to excessive calories, fat and/or sodium. Maybe you want to shy away from being the customer that asks for sauce on the side. However, remember…you are looking out for you🌟. As you desire to eat as healthfully and joyfully as possible, whether dining out or ordering in, you do need to speak up😮! While you do not have to get every sauce on the side every time, be attentive to what you are putting in your body. Ordering sauce on the side, asking for less sauce or pushing it off to the side, can help you keep your dish the 300-400 calorie range, versus 600 calories or above, 10–15 grams of fat versus 20–30 grams, plus save you on the sodium content. From dips, to red sauce, to Asian sauces, gettin’ saucy is certainly tasty, but can be tricky as well.
There are all kinds of sauces out there that can keep us in the game, or those that make us feel like a benchwarmer. You should feel energized🏃🏿♀️after your meals, not immediately like a couch potato. Learning how to keep those saucy stats in line with the rest of your healthy choices, can enhance your food enjoyment.
Let’s dip in. Dipping sauces are delicious😋, but they can be high in added sugars, sodium, and fats. They can quickly spin a healthy meal or snack into a downward health spiral. However, let’s not discredit the unique flavors and taste these sauces can bring. Here are a few tips to keep the dips in line with your desire for a balanced meal or snack:
CREAMY TOMATILLO SAUCE
Spicy is always fun, but adding a creaminess to it can take the fun to another level. I love this sauce as it is filled with awesome flavors, along with a comforting creaminess, making any protein of choice absolutely delicious. The prep time is worth it!
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 jalapeño peppers, rinsed, sliced in half and seeded
2 shallots, peeled and sliced in half
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
juice from 1 lime
1/2 t cumin
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro
dash of salt
Preheat oven on high broil. Line rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Place tomatillos, peppers and shallots on baking sheet. Broil on rack second from top, for about 5–10 minutes, checking frequently until skins are charred. Flip to broil second side, continuing to check frequently until skin is charred. Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Peel off all skins and discard.
Add tomatillos, peppers, shallots and garlic to blender, along with cilantro, vinegar, lime juice, cumin and salt. Puree until smooth. Add yogurt and blend one more time. Serve with baked or grilled chicken, seafood or tofu.
2 large, ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1 cup nonfat greek yogurt (or nonfat sour cream, if preferred)
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
juice from two limes (about 3–4 Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a food processor or blender, scoop out avocado and blend together with yogurt, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt. Pour into a bowl and season with black pepper to taste. Serve as dip or topping. If refrigerating, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. It will last up to 48 hours. Makes 6–8 servings.
BALSAMIC TOMATO SAUCE
Vinegars can be an exceptional ingredient when creating a lean yet tasty sauce or dish. There are quite a variety out there! Some of my favorites include balsamic, champagne and red wine vinegars. Experiment to see what flavors and brands you like best on salads, pasta dishes, as well as with this sauce. There is a fun thickening method I included here, of which you can opt in or out :). This sauce works great roasting with veggies, tofu, chicken and fish.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups canned diced tomatoes, no sodium added
1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock or broth, low sodium
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: Beurre manie= 1 Tablespoon flour + 1 Tablespoon butter, softened
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In small sauce pan, add olive oil through stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. You can just let it simmer here for 10–15 minutes, until desired thickness. Or, for some additional luster to your sauce: while sauce is simmering, in a small bowl mix flour and butter with a fork to form a smooth paste. Then roll a teaspoon-size amounts of the paste into balls. Add one ball to sauce, increase heat and allow the mixture to return to a boil, and cook for at least 1 minute to thicken. If your sauce is not as thick as you’d like, add a bit more beurre manie. Serve over or roast with any veggie, protein, polenta, rice or pasta. It makes approximately 2–2 1/2 cups sauce; about 1/4 cup per serving.
Food is my lens, but people are my focus.
Shakirah Simley, Director, Office of Racial Equity, for the city and county of San Francisco, California
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Part 5: Women and (Unwanted) WeightAs “gracefully aging women,” ourselves, we know there is much to discuss. However, we have reached our last topic in this series. What makes it so difficult to lose weight or maintain our weight during this phase of life? As always, there are multiple factors to this struggle, and we aren’t going to address genetics here. We are not promoting diets or trying to be thin; rather, we are focused on strong, healthy bodies and minds. We are speaking to those in the audience who are peri-menopausal or currently in menopause who are struggling to lose extra, unwanted weight and keep it off. If you are that person in the audience in your 50’s who has maintained your same weight as in your 30’s or 40’s, well…you know what to do…don’t read any further😌.
One challenge for women is that the symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms. However, thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause. Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones (underactive). This slows down many of your body’s functions, including metabolism. It usually happens quite slowly, over years, with a host of other symptoms, including feeling tired all the time, cold for no reason, constipation, muscle weakness, joint pain, pale and dry skin, sadness, dry, thinning hair, and other symptoms. Hypothyroidism could explain weight gain and it could increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
But the good news (there is always some!), IF you are experiencing any of the above symptoms without a known cause, talk to your doctor. There are treatments out there!
In the meanwhile, let’s continue to focus on healthy eating :) — natural, plant-predominant foods — keeping us feeling energized and smiling, while we surround ourselves with friends and family (at a social distance)! We are going to focus on speed in the kitchen, so less time cooking and more time socializing or just taking the time to take care of YOU❤️!
SPICY SPEEDY SHRIMP
I continue to receive lots of requests for air fryer recipes :). No doubt with good reason — they make cooking fun, tasty, crunchy and speedy. I love this recipe, as there are so many options as to what you can do with these spicy crustaceans.
1 Tablespoon hot Mexican-style chili powder
1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
1 large egg
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Nonstick cooking spray
avocado, sliced or guacamole
salsa, any style
fresh lime juice
Preheat the air fryer to 360˚F for at least 5 minutes. While preheating, place prepared shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with chili powder and mix well. Crack the egg into a separate small bowl — mixing well with fork. Place the panko crumbs into a separate small bowl.
Once preheat is complete, slide out the air fryer basket and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Remove shrimp from bag, one at a time, dipping into the egg, then panko crumbs, and placing in air fryer basket. Once basket is full (not overfull, as shrimp should not touch each other), spray tops of shrimp and slide into air fryer. “Fry” for 7–8 minutes at 360˚F, shaking halfway through to flip shrimp. Remove and repeat until all shrimp are cooked.
Serve on top of salad, in a whole grain wrap, or in a bowl with brown rice. Top with any or all of the suggested toppings, and then some!
MISO LIME CHICKEN
Chicken can get a tad boring sometimes, so I try to spark things up here with a tasty zing from the miso and fresh lime juice. This seriously simple and tasty sauce works well with fish or tofu as well!
1 pound chicken tenders or chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about the juice from one lime)
2 Tablespoons white miso paste
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
1 Tablespoon honey
Nonstick cooking spray
Fresh cilantro or basil for garnish
Prepare the rub by placing the onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place chicken tenders in a medium bowl. Pour rub evenly on top and mix well with clean hands, being sure the rub is evenly spread onto the chicken.
Mix up the sauce: Place the lime juice, miso paste, yogurt and honey in a small bowl. Mix well until miso is dissolved and set aside.
Place a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the chicken in a single layer. Cook 4–5 minutes, spray again with nonstick cooking spray, and flip to cook another 3–4 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and place onto serving platter.
Top with sauce and garnish, and keep some extra sauce on the side!
Looking for a quick veggie on the side? Go for fresh golden beets! Peel, slice, mix with a touch of olive oil, dash of salt, freshly ground pepper. Microwave for a few minutes, then roast for 15–20 minutes at 400˚F. Garnish with fresh sage. Share the sauce here, too!
This recipe was originally a heavier chili. I lightened it up into a bisque with some additional calcium-packed ingredients, as well as adding crab meat for a lean protein, along with the beans. Although the sherry helps bring out a rich, mellow taste, it may be omitted if desired. There is some chopping here, but still a 20-minute or less prep time.
3 medium shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped fine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2–3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
8 ounces jumbo lump crab, shells removed
1/2 cup evaporated nonfat milk
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley to garnish, optional
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add the shallots, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the beans, chili powder and tomato paste. Stir and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce temperature to a simmer and continue cooking for about 8 minutes.
Stir in the crab, evaporated nonfat milk, sherry, and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings (any needed salt, pepper, more chili powder). Makes 4 servings.
The Soup Bowl🍲~ T’is the season for soup! Whether you are looking for a meal in a bowl or just a tasty starter, soup usually fits the bill. The natural goodness of homemade soup is warming to the heart and soul. Lots of veggies and whole grains create a high fiber, high nutrient, highly satisfying meal. There are of course times when a lengthier commitment to the kitchen is just not in the cards. Here are some tips when you need to create a quick fix bowl, and still do not want to go for the canned or boxed version:
Real soup is to the body what peace is to the soul
For comments, thoughts, requests or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/ https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/thyroid-disease#27 https://thyroidresearchjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1756-6614-6-2.pdf
The rebellious Rd.
As a longtime promoter of healthy cooking and eating, Amy's focus is on plant-based eating, with a rebellious twist - that she and no one, needs to be perfect.