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From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-19 7:22 PM 
To: All  (141 of 159) 
 125.141 in reply to 125.1 

Heirloom Tomatoes


Purple Cherokee...Arkansas Traveler... Marvel Stripe... Mortgage Lifter...Brandywine... With their evocative names and gorgeous colors, heirloom tomatoes make a theatrical entrance, stealing the summer produce scene. Their charm is truly irresistible. Just the sound of the word "heirloom" brings on a warm, snuggly, bespectacled grandmother knitting socks and baking pies kind of feeling. And just like grandmother's pie recipe, heirloom tomatoes are a part of our heritage.

To be considered an heirloom, a tomato must have been grown from seed that has produced the same variety of tomato going back several generations (at least until 1940).

And then there's the sheer variety-Large, small, oval, round, yellow, green, red, orange and nearly black-serving to remind us that nature still has a bit of influence in a world of uniformity and predictability. In fact, one of the factors that makes an heirloom an heirloom is that it must be open pollinated in nature.

But what really sends people to the market in droves during the summer, bushel baskets in hand, is the taste of these full flavored beauties. Heirlooms stand out for their complexity and variety of flavor. Some are rich and sweet, others tart and refreshing. Some are quite juicy while others are firm and meaty. Color really does predict flavor. Orange and yellow tomatoes taste sweetest because they are lowest in acid; dark red and black tomatoes usually have a pretty equal balance between sugar and acid, while green and white tomatoes will taste more tart because of their high acid content.

Heirloom tomatoes are a joy to cook with because their very different characteristics lend themselves to a variety of preparations. And, you can rest assured that when you eat heirloom tomatoes, you are not ingesting harmful chemicals, because to be an heirloom, a tomato must be certified organic by a USDA recognized certification organization.

It's summer, so no matter how you slice them, crush them, stack them, sandwich them or toss them, you're sure to have some luscious heirloom tomato experiences.

Quick tips for heirloom tomatoes:

Slice juicy, orange marbled Marvel Stripes into thick slices, add a little salt and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy them at room temperature-a happy gift from nature.

Cut Evergreen or Brandywine tomatoes into bite sized pieces and toss them directly into a skillet with pasta, garlic, oil and herbs just before you slide the pasta onto the plate. The hot pasta will coax out the tomato's tangy juices without cooking or breaking them down.

Cut sweet corn off of the cob into a salad bowl and toss in diced Purple Cherokee tomatoes, basil and cubes of salty, tangy cheese, such as a fresh Pecorino Romano, Provolone or Jack. Add a little olive oil and a dash of mild vinegar or lemon for a quick, garden fresh salad.

Drizzle olive oil onto a baguette, and add thick slices of Marvel Stripe tomatoes along with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Crumble a little fresh goat cheese onto the tomatoes, tuck in a few leaves of arugula and you have a summer sandwich of perfect simplicity. You might want to eat this one over the sink!

Note: Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Refrigeration dulls their flavor and makes their texture mealy. Simply leave them out at room temperature away from direct light.



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From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-19 7:26 PM 
To: All  (142 of 159) 
 125.142 in reply to 125.1 

Enjoy a low-carb picnic!

Devorah Stone

Ah the picnic! It comes from the French 17th century word pique-nique, pique means to peck or pick. The English didn't pick up the practice till the mid 18th century. By the Victorian Era, picnics were elegant affairs with wine, roast beef, duck, ham and veal along with assorted salads and cucumber. Picnickers watched boat races or played a leisurely game of croquet. Here are some ideas and recipes for enjoying your own low-carb picnic!

History of the modern picnic
Many North American towns starting in the late 19th century had annual summer picnics where the entire population attended. They enjoyed listening to bands, watching community plays and participating in races.

The family picnics I remember weren't quite so elegant or large, but just as lavish. My mother cooked all day so our picnics were always for dinner. She produced baskets of chickens -- at least two kinds, cold roast beef cuts, five salads including plain lettuce and tomato, we took large thermoses of juice. It was feast. We'd sit, eat, talk and play until the sun set. We were fortunate to live near beaches, so our picnics included swimming, beach volleyball and sand castles building.

A picnic isn't just for eating, it's a great time for the family to be together and play non competitive sports like Frisbee, or freestyle volleyball, catch, lawn bowling or softball. A picnic can be part of your all over all summer exercise plan! It's also a wonderful way to relax and get away from all the pressures of both work and home, and to reconnect with family or friends.

I've put together a picnic basket of food that everyone in the family will enjoy even if they're not on a diet. Since people eat just as much with their eyes as their mouths, use different colored cabbages for the coleslaw.

Ground walnuts make an excellent substitute for flour in a chicken that's baked instead of fried. I've added lamb because it's both good hot or cold and it's finger food if you don't mind the mess. Instead of the picnic tradition of potato salad, there's cauliflower and asparagus perked up with lemon and lime.

You can add sour cream with instead of lemon and lime if you like. I've suggested soaking red onions in lime juice over night so in the morning they're almost sweet.

Picnic prep
It's a good idea to plan your picnic early in the morning or preferably the night before. Soak the red onions for the Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad first and just before you leave, fry up the lamb.

Remember to check the weather forecast first! And don't forget the sunscreen, a hat and lots of water!

Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad
Juice of half a lime
1 small red onion
1 head firm cauliflower
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 cup parsley
1 small tin (8 oz) wax beans
2 spring onions
Zest from one lemon
Juice of half a lemon and lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop red onion. Soak onion in lime juice and then put in small plastic container for at least one hour or overnight. Discard cauliflower and asparagus tough ends. Steam both until tender but still firm. Let cool. Chop parsley and green onions. I cut them with scissors.

Mix all the vegetables, parsley and onions together, then the lemon and lime juice. Sprinkle lemon zest on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Makes eight servings.

Per serving: 5g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 1g protein; 0g fat; 22 calories

1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Splenda
2 tablespoons vinegar
Lemon pepper spice to taste (or use lemon zest with pepper)
1 small green or white cabbage
1 small purple cabbage
3 stalks celery
1 large green pepper

Mix lemon pepper, vinegar, Splenda and mayonnaise together, cool in the refrigerator.

Chop up or put through widest setting on food processor cabbages, celery and green pepper. Mix in mayonnaise mixture. Refrigerate at le
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From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-19 7:34 PM 
To: All  (143 of 159) 
 125.143 in reply to 125.141 

Detoxifying Foods
Protection against the effects of environmental pollution, free-radical induced cell damage and cancer is provided by dietary anti-oxidants. Foods that are richest in these anti-oxidants are red, yellow and green vegetables, uncooked nuts and seeds (like almonds and sunflower seeds), and fish.

The appetizing colors of fresh fruits and vegetables derive from the presence of special groups of anti-oxidants. Carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds which range in hue from light yellow to deep orange. The flagship carotenoid is beta-carotene, the orange pigment evident in carrots and cantaloupe. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, but the importance of carotenoids for human health extends far beyond beta-carotene's role as a precursor of vitamin A. Dietary supplements of beta-carotene are ineffective in preventing cancer or heart disease, whereas food that is high in beta-carotene and other carotenoids does confer protection. Scientists have previously paid insufficient attention to these other carotenoids, like alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene and the xanthins. They do not serve as pre-cursors of vitamin A, yet their consumption may be as effective as consumption of beta-carotene in decreasing the risk of cancer, probably because they exert significant anti-oxidant effects of their own. I do not recommend nutritional supplements containing beta-carotene to my patients. Instead, I recommend a diet high in mixed carotenoids, which includes many different varieties of fruits and vegetables: carrots, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, winter squash and papaya. Sea vegetables like kelp, wakame, dulse, hiziki and nori are especially rich in mixed carotenoids. They can be quite tasty cooked or raw, along with rice or beans or in salad.

The darker colors of fruits and vegetables are supplied by a group of compounds called bioflavonoids, which typically range from bright yellow to deep purple in hue. There are over four hundred bioflavonoids in the human diet. They are widely distributed in fruits, vegetables, beverages and spices. A typical North American consumes about one gram of bioflavonoids per day; Asians may consume over five grams per day, much of it coming from herbs and spices. Bioflavonoids are potent anti-oxidants that not only contribute to the health benefits of fruits and vegetables but also to the therapeutic effects of many traditional Chinese and Indian herbal remedies. The bioflavonoids which give grapes their purple color are believed responsible for the protection against heart disease which is offered by red wine. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the bioflavonoid which is the main constituent of green tea, is credited with the protection against cancer that results from drinking green tea.

A number of foods stimulate the body to produce more of the enzymes used for detoxicating the body from cancer-causing chemicals. These foods have been shown to improve liver detoxification and to decrease the risk of developing cancer. They include members of the cabbage family (crucifers), which includes not only cabbage but broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and brussel sprouts, and also green onions and kale. These vegetables contain compounds called aryl isothiocyanates which directly stimulate the activity of an enzyme, glutathione S-transferase, an important component of the Phase Two system. Activation of liver detoxification probably explains the highly publicized effects of broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage in preventing cancer in humans and experimental animals.

Bioflavonoids found in soy beans have weak estrogen-like activity. If a women is deficient in estrogen (early menopause, for example), consuming soy products can replace the missing estrogen and relieve hot flashes. If a person is exposed to an excess of estrogen, the flavonoids in soy act as estrogen blockers and lower the effects of estrogen. The low frequency of breast cancer in east Asia, where soy is a major source of protein, has been attributed to the mild estrogen-blocking effect of soy flavonoids. Preliminary research indicates that soy flavonoids can block the estrogenic effects of dioxin.

Infection-Fighting Foods
A high intake of vegetables increases the consumption of a group of natural chemicals called saponins, which have immune-stimulating and antibiotic effects. Saponins are the latest in a long list of plant chemicals that are not considered nutrients, the way that vitamins are, because no deficiency state has been identified, but which promote health. In plants, saponins seem to function as natural antibiotics, protecting the plant against microbial parasites. In humans, they may thwart cancer and ward off infection. Saponins are most highly concentrated in soybeans, chickpeas, bean sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes and oats. They have a creamy texture and a sweet taste that separates them from other plant components. Some biotechnology companies are presently attempting to harvest saponins and use them as drugs.

Carrots, carob, blueberries and raspberries contain complex sugars (oligosaccharides) which interfere with the binding of pathogenic bacteria to the intestinal lining. These have been used in Europe for centuries for the treatment or prevention of diarrhea.

Before they were used as seasoning, culinary herbs and spices were probably used for food preservation. Many varieties have natural antimicrobial activity and can retard spoilage. They are also used to mask the flavor of spoiled food, so I suggest using them at home, where you know the food they flavor is fresh to begin with.

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From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 7:49 PM 
To: All  (144 of 159) 
 125.144 in reply to 125.1 
itchen Trick: Easy Marinades

In the mood for a tasty marinated steak, fish, or veggie dish? Avoid expensive — and seldom Zone-appropriate — bottled marinades that are sold in stores and create your own instead. Marinades are easy to make, usually consisting of just three ingredients: an acid (such as vinegar), a fat (such as olive oil), and flavorings (herbs or spices).

Here are Chef Eric's tips for making marinades:

  • Consider the kind of meat you're using. The denser the meat, the stronger the flavors of your marinade. For delicately flavored fish and seafood, make a marinade of white wine or lemon juice. For chicken, try balsamic vinegar or lime juice. And for beef, try hearty red wine or red-wine vinegar.
  • Clean and prep your meat. Place your meat in a large, resealable bag with the marinade and seal.
  • Put the bag containing the marinade and the meat (or veggies) in the fridge and let it sit for an appropriate length of time — longer for beef, shorter for chicken, and quickest of all for fish.
  • Try this delicious, fat-free recipe for Lime Marinade — enough for 1.5 pounds of steak:
Lime Marinade

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

In a resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients. Add steak, seal bag (place in a dish to catch any leaks), and marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for up to 1 hour. To cook steak on the grill, remove beef from the bag, allowing most of the marinade to drip off. The leaner the cut, the quicker it cooks. For a medium-cooked steak, allow 7 minutes cooking time on one side, and 5 on the other. Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness. It will read 115 to 125 degrees for rare, 125 to 140 degrees for medium-rare, 140 to150 degrees for medium, 150 to 160 degrees for medium-well, and 160 degrees or above for well-done.




From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 7:54 PM 
To: All  (145 of 159) 
 125.145 in reply to 125.144 
Zone Solutions: The Optimal Olive Oil

This Daily Zone is part of a weekly series that highlights the innovative health and nutrition products created by Dr. Sears and Zone Labs.

You already know that olive oil makes food taste better, but did you know that it also has many health benefits? Olive oil is a powerful antioxidant, which may help prevent the inflammation behind many chronic diseases.

Even the government has finally recognized the heart-healthy effects of olive oil. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced that olive oil products can now be labeled with a "qualified health claim" stating that Americans may reduce their risk of heart disease by eating them instead of saturated fats — as long as, in doing so, they don't increase the total number of daily calories consumed.

So be sure to add some olive oil to your meals to create a Zoned dish and reap its health benefits. Dr. Sears himself is such a believer in olive oil's health benefits — and its great taste — that he's created Dr. Sears' Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It's pressed from the finest olives organically grown in select regions of Italy, where the soil quality ensures the highest levels of antioxidants coupled with great flavor. You can also find delicious olive oil options at the supermarket. Keep in mind when purchasing it that every olive oil has its own distinct taste, smell, appearance, and even antioxidant content, depending on the olive variety it's derived from. You may want to sample a few different brands to discover your own favorite. "Extra Virgin" on the label means the oil comes from the first pressing of the olive, giving the highest quality product.




From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 8:01 PM 
To: All  (146 of 159) 
 125.146 in reply to 125.144 
Pick of the Week: Basil

Bushels of basil are now cheap and plentiful in stores. So add fresh basil to your favorite dishes and maximize their flavor. Here are tips for buying and enjoying this versatile green:

  • Choose a bushy, dark-green bunch, avoiding leaves that have black spots, lacy-looking holes (caused by insects), or buds.
  • Basil perishes quickly in a fridge when stored damp. So immerse the ends in water, as if it were a bouquet of flowers, and store it upright on a fridge shelf instead. If you prefer to keep basil on the countertop, place it out of direct sunlight. Wash leaves thoroughly right before you plan to use them. Cleaning the greens is important, since contaminated basil was found in Florida last month (although the problem appears to have been resolved).
  • Ribbon-like strands of basil used as a garnish are called a chiffonade. To create: Cut off stems, then tightly roll the leaves, starting at the tip, all the way down to the stem end. With a small, sharp knife, start at one end of your roll and slice off ribbons, which will unfurl as you cut them. Discard the spines of the leaves.
  • Italian cooking often involves simply tossing roughly torn leaves into salads and sauces. You can also grip a basil bunch by the stems, positioning the leaves over the pot or dish, and then use scissors to create a rough chop.
  • Try this Zone-friendly recipe for a Mediterranean classic:
Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

3 ounces skim-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
5 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Dessert: 1 cup of blueberries or strawberries

Place lettuce on a serving plate. In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, and chili powder. Alternate slices of tomato and shredded mozzarella on the lettuce bed. Pour chickpea dressing over tomatoes and serve. Eat fruit for dessert.




From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 8:26 PM 
To: All  (147 of 159) 
 125.147 in reply to 125.6 
Cooking Tip: Fast Fish

The easiest and most foolproof way to cook fish is to place it in a foil packet and heat it in the oven. Here's why: an air-tight packet allows the fillet to both steam and bake, so the fish stays moist, while the flavors intensify. You can also throw herbs, spices, lemon slices, and even vegetables into the packet to add extra flavor to your fish. And clean up is as easy as just throwing away the foil.

Experiment with the fish and flavorings of your choice, following this basic recipe:

Basic Foiled Fish

4 1/2 ounce fish fillet of your choice
Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Squirt of lemon juice
Chopped onion, to taste

Tear off a good-sized piece of foil. Spray the center lightly with vegetable spray. Put fish in the center of the foil. Top with onion, pepper, lemon juice, and cheese. Fold foil over fish, leaving space around the fish. Carefully turn and seal the ends and the middle so that juices don't leak out. Bake in a 425°F oven for 18 minutes. When done, carefully open foil to prevent steam burns.





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From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 9:07 PM 
To: All  (148 of 159) 
 125.148 in reply to 125.147 

A Cream Cheese, Mayonnaise Alternative

Empty a carton of plain non-fat yogurt into a strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth (or paper coffee filter), and place over a bowl. Cover with wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The consistency of the yogurt cheese will be similar to soft cream cheese. Use as a base for dips and spreads, as a topping for baked potatoes--in fact anywhere you would use regular mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese.




From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 9:07 PM 
To: All  (149 of 159) 
 125.149 in reply to 125.147 

Make Your Own Cooking Spray

Using cooking spray is a great way to cut the fat in cooking, but have you thought of making your own? Here's how. Buy a new plant mister. Wash it thoroughly before using. Add two tablespoons of canola oil followed by 1 cup less two tablespoons of water. Create an olive oil spray, too. Use these sprays the same way you would use commercial cooking sprays. Just make sure you shake it before each use.




From: Margie (ILovePhotos) Posted by hostMay-20 9:09 PM 
To: All  (150 of 159) 
 125.150 in reply to 125.1 

How to Make Ginger Tea

From Cathy Wong, N.D.,Your Guide to Alternative Medicine.

Warm your digestive fire and prevent colds

Hot ginger tea is an excellent winter drink. You can use it to strengthen digestion, improve circulation, or ward off colds, sore throat and the flu.

It's very easy to make ginger tea. Here are the instructions:

Hot Ginger Tea
4 cups of water
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
optional: honey and lemon

Peel the ginger root and slice it into thin slices. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.

Note: Keep in mind that if you are making this tea to strengthen the immune system and ward off colds and flu, sweeteners are not recommended.




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