Green beans, string beans, snap beans, whichever bean suits your fancy, can all be found in groceries year-round, and make for easy and quick recipes like the one below. To produce the best green beans and to preserve their flavor and texture, parboil and immerse them in ice water to set their color, then saute briefly.
♥ To make this recipe even more fantastic, and if you have the time, money, and your diet allows, add some whole wheat pasta along with your favorite protein (animal or plant), some oregano, parmesan and any other leftover veggies in the fridge or freezer. Oh, and this last addition, if you choose, will add an even more powerful punch of disease-fighting foods! No matter which recipe route you choose, you will find an A+ on your health report card!
+ 1 lb (500g) green beans, stems trimmed
+ 2 teaspoons olive oil
+ 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and julienned
+ 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
+ 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
+ 1 teaspoon sesame oil
+ 1/2 teaspoon salt
+ 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Cut the beans into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces then bring a large saucepan filled roughly 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the beans, and cook for about 1-3 minutes; until they turn bright green and are crisp and tender. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge the beans into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Drain once more, and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. I prefer a cast iron but any large frying pan will do the job. Add the bell pepper, stir and toss for about 1 minute, and then add and saute the beans for another minute then add the garlic and chili paste and mix for about 1 minute longer. Lastly, remove from heat, drizzle with sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve promptly to your hungry crowd.
Nutrition per serving information*
Cook + Prep Time: 10-15 minutes, depending on your cooking skills and other recipe additions.
Per Serving: (2 vegetable servings per portion)
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat <1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
*Does not include the ♥ pasta additions
So, what are your thoughts? Are you a green bean, red pepper, and garlic kind of person? What else would you add or take out? I am always looking to improve and expand my cooking and recipe repertoire.
Total time (prep + cook): 45 min (depending on your cooking style and methods)
This classic version adds more of a health punch compared to most original classic potato salads. You still get the creaminess this traditional favorite offers, although you are substituting half of the mayo for yogurt (1). And your fiber and potassium intake bumps up because these taters (2) are “skin” on. If you’re trying to save time and cookware, boil the eggs (4) on top of the potatoes while they are steaming in the steaming basket. Depending on your cooked egg preference, you can leave them in the basket the entire steam time or take them out a few minutes before the taters are tender and done.
2-1/2 pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (1/2″ to 1″)
3/4 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (3)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (5)
Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot fitted with a steaming basket. Add potatoes, cover, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes depending on your stove (while cooking, jump to #2). When done, spread the taters, in a single layer, onto a lined baking sheet (aluminum foil makes an excellent lining and easy for cleanup) and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let cool 15 minutes.
Whisk mayo, yogurt, onion, mustard, pepper, and remaining salt (1/2 tsp) in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are cooled, add them to the mixture along with the eggs and celery; stir to coat.
Serve at room temp or refrigerate until cold. The salad can be made up to 1 day, covered, and refrigerated.
Serving Size: ¾ cup; Per Serving: 146 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat.); 2 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein; 27 mcg folate; 40 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugar; 109 IU Vitamin A; 7 mg Vitamin C; 48 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 325 mg sodium; 552 mg potassium
Carbohydrate Servings: 1 ½
Exchanges: 1 ½ starch, 1 fat
Low-fat plain yogurt (LFPY) adds calcium, which is needed for teeth and bones, and it is a high-quality protein to help build and repair muscles. LFPY also has live, healthy gut bacteria, which aids in digestion and some who are lactose intolerant may be able to intake small amounts of this yogurt. Still, this healthy substitute stimulates the immune system, and if you are looking to add MORE protein and creaminess, substitute with Greek yogurt.
The skin on taters provides whopping values of fiber to keep you regular, potassium to control blood pressure, and many other vitamins and minerals. Most of the fiber, roughly half, is found in the skin, but beyond the skin, you’ll find most of the vitamin C, which is vital for healthy skin and hair. Potato and its skin also house vitamins B1 and B6; B1 assist in the bodies energy system, and Pyroxidene (B6) is vital for the central nervous system. This carbohydrate contains little to no fat, cholesterol, and calories but it does contain iron, magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu). For healthy blood, our bodies require iron, and for wound healing, Mg, Zn, and Cu take on the job. Last tidbit: Compared to bananas, which have 9g Mg, potatoes out win with 20g Mg, and for a greater nutrient powerhouse, go for the red taters.
Have you ever taken a bite out of a raw onion? If not, I dare you to! Similar to potatoes, onions also contain vitamin C and fiber, along with healthy plant “chemicals” that are thought to prevent some types of cancer, based on studies. Onions are low in fat and calories and again, similar to potatoes, red onions pack a higher nutrient punch.
HUMPTY DUMPTY (Eggs) does NOT spike blood cholesterol, but instead, he does the opposite by raising “good” cholesterol or HDL’s (I call this the happy cholesterol and LDL’s the lowsy cholesterol). All 9 essential amino acids (needed to make proteins) can be found in an egg. Essential indicates that your body cannot make them, they must come from diet. Eggs also provide a healthy dose of Omega 3’s to protect the brain and heart, carotenoids to protect our eyes, and vitamin D to protect our bones.
Did you know that CELERY was once prescribed as an anti-hypertensive many centuries ago? Yeah, I didn’t either. I thought the only nutrition in celery was water, but nope, there is so much more. These gorgeous green, crisp stalks provide vitamin C and act as a diuretic to flush out excess fluid. Yes, ladies, we need our celery! If you suffer from inflammation, celeries properties may help. If you have high cholesterol and blood pressure, phthalates in celery may help lower it, and if you are trying to minimize your cancer risk, coumarins found in the stalks may provide some comfort.
These claims are all based on evidence-based studies; however, PLEASE see your dietitian and doctor before making drastic changes in your diet if you have any of the medical conditions stated above.
A breakthrough discovery by scientists at Houston Methodist could change the way we treat cholesterol. Researchers found new evidence that challenges a 40-year notion of how fast we eliminate it from our bodies.
This accidental discovery, made by medical biochemist Henry Pownall, Ph.D., and his team at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, reveals a new pathway in the cholesterol-elimination chain that will be key to developing new drugs to lower cholesterol. Their findings are described in an article titled “ABCA1-Derived Nascent High-Density Lipoprotein-Apo AI, and Lipids Metabolically Segregate,” appearing online Oct. 26 and in print Nov. 21 in the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal. Pownall, who is the corresponding author, said the initial purpose of their study was to prove the current model of cholesterol transport through the body was correct. It turns out, however, that the model was not quite right.
“The model people have been using for 40 years presumed that cholesterol was transported from the arteries with other lipids and proteins and entered a particle that stayed in the blood for several days before being cleared by the liver for disposal,” Pownall said. “What we discovered in the process was something different. We discovered the cholesterol skips all these steps and goes directly from this first particle to the liver in two minutes. This is a thousand times faster than what was formerly suspected.”
While most studies look at HDL cholesterol in its mature form found in blood, Pownall and his colleagues studied cholesterol in nascent HDL, an early kind of HDL produced by cells. Cholesterol in the nascent HDL goes directly to the liver, mainly skipping conversion to the mature form of HDL. Pownall stresses that it’s not that current practices of treating “bad” LDL cholesterol are incorrect, but instead that physicians and researchers need to better understand how the “good” HDL cholesterol contributes to cardiovascular disease and how to raise it in a way that protects the heart, because some patients with very high HDL numbers, which were always thought to be beneficial, are actually at risk. “LDL cholesterol, the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’ is well controlled with the current statin therapies. The track record for these cholesterol-lowering drugs is indisputable, and they will continue to work,” Pownall said. “HDL, or the ‘good cholesterol,’ however, is a much trickier system. Not everything that raises it protects the heart and not everything that lowers it is terrible for you. We will need to redesign new drugs to lower plasma cholesterol in a way that takes into account this new mechanism. We will look for interventions, maybe dietary (why of course!), perhaps pharmacological, that raise HDL cholesterol in a way that helps protect the arteries and prevent cardiovascular disease.”
Adapted from: Bingqing Xu, Baiba K. Gillard, Antonio M. Gotto, Corina Rosales, Henry J. Pownall. ABCA1-Derived Nascent High-Density Lipoprotein–Apolipoprotein AI and Lipids Metabolically Segregate. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2017; ATVBAHA.117.310290 DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.117.310290
Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt! Smoothies are a great way to enjoy dairy during the early morning rush. For a quick breakfast, blend yogurt with banana, peanut butter & ice.
Timeous: In good time; sufficiently early
“There are three categories of suffering or pain to include: All-pervading pain, the pain of alternation and the pain of pain. All-pervading pain is the general pain of dissatisfaction, separation and loneliness. The sense of alternation between pain and its absence, again and again, is itself painful. And then there is the pain of pain. Resisting pain only increases its intensity.”