Superfoods to the Rescue

We’ve all read about extraordinary ‘superfoods’ that are bombarding the food industry and are vital to nutrition-based diet. Advertisements claim certain foods can boost your metabolism, strengthen your immune system and can help protect you from cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol – all achieved with natural foods, no drugs whatsoever. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around Greek yogurt because it has twice the amount of protein and low-fat content. The same has been done with cranberries and kale in the past. But what are the real benefits of superfoods and what are just exaggerations made by ad agencies? After consulting Web MD, I found a few superfoods that are proven to improve your health. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs

Tea

Whether it is black tea or green tea, tea is a superfood (superdrink?) that lowers cholesterol and said to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. ECGC is a powerful antioxidant found in tea. Tea is also a healthy alternative from sugary sodas. Tea can be ordered in almost every restaurant and is associated with relaxation and pleasure.

Dark Chocolate

Looking for an excuse to eat chocolate? Research has shown dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Experts recommend that you should look for chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content (the darker, the better). In addition, the darker the chocolate, the lower the fat and sugar content.

 

 

Omega 3 Rich Fish

The omega-3s found in fish lower heart disease, help arthritis, and some experts believe help with memory loss. Omega-3s are found most often in fatty, cold-water fish. Try eating salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel. Omega-3s can also be found in fortified eggs, flax seed and walnuts.

 

Blueberries

The delicious fruit is a superfood powerhouse. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, phytoflavinoids (compounds that protect our bodies from stress), potassium and vitamin C. Blueberries are said to decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer and are also anti-inflammatory. Fresh berries can also help with weight management – as they are high in water content and low in calories.

Sweet & Salty Cheesecake

Over the weekend, I had a sweet tooth craving. So I scoured the internet for a dessert that was easy enough for me to bake. I came across salted caramel cheesecake bars and my mouth began to water. I love the texture of cheese cake and the richness of salted caramel – but I also am completely against making a dessert with no chocolate in it. It’s just not dessert. After I completed the recipe, I kept my apron on for an extra minute or two and mixed together chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream to add 1 more  top layer of chocolate-goodness. This dessert is indulgent and so decadent, I recommend making this to take to a family event or work. Otherwise, you will eat the whole thing yourself! As I write this, I think I may go grab another piece…

What you need:
Crust
2 1/4 cups graham cracker – I used Nilla wafers instead because I already had them
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons butter
Filling
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Glaze
2/3 cup dulce de leche
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
10 caramel chews
Sea salt
Directions:
Crust— Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9x2 pan with nonstick spray. Combine crushed Nilla wafers, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Slowly add in melted butter and coat the mixture. Move crumb mixture to the pan and spread evenly and flat across the bottom. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely before you move to the next step.
Filling— Blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Add in the dulce de lech and vanilla until just mixed. Spread filling evenly over cooled crust. Bake until the cheesecake mixture is set in the center and the edges are puffed and slightly cracked – or about 38 minutes. Let it cool completely before you move to the next step.
Glaze— Pour 2/3 cup dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons of whipping cream in a glass bowl. Microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring between each. Next take about 10 caramel candies and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Quickly dump melted caramels in the glaze mixture and stir. The consistency should be pourable, but not too liquid.
Glaze 2 (Optional)— Combine a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons of heaving whipping cream in a bowl. Microwave for 15 second intervals (chocolate easily burns!). Stir. Spread over cheesecake bars. Sprinkle bars with sea salt. Cover and chill bars until ready to serve.

 

How many folds are on your chef hat?

Legend has it, the number of folds on a chef’s hat is directly related to the number of ways he or she can cook an egg. This means, if you see a chef sporting an outlandish, vaulted, 3-tiered hat, they are probably a culinary genius!

Sadly, my chef hat only had two folds on it – because I can only cook eggs two ways: fried and scrambled. Embarrassed by my droopy, stunted chef hat, I made it my mission to expand my knowledge in the cooking-eggs-realm. Well, at least a little bit.

SHIRRED EGGS:

Bake eggs in the oven in a ramekin of cream. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese (optional). This one sounds delicious!

BASTED EGGS:

Heat butter. Fry an egg sunny-side up in the butter. Spoon extra runny butter on top of eggs until the white part is firm but the yolk is still runny. Basted eggs are supposedly the most flavorful kind of eggs.

POACHED EGGS:

Simmer water (NOT boil). Create whirlpool. Drop in egg. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove and serve. Easy right? While the process seems simple, the tricky part is making sure the egg doesn’t get all over when you drop it in the water. That’s what the whirlpool part is for – to keep the egg together.

TELL US! How tall is your chef hat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^(my try at a poached egg!)