Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Diets”

Healthier, Easier

Quick!  Let’s do a little word association: When I say, ‘health food’ what’s the first thought that comes to mind?  Does the very notion conjure up images of huge grocery bills or tearful children?  Fear not!  Though a lot of people think that eating healthier would necessarily require a complete diet overhaul, just a few tweaks and sneaks can make a huge difference.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

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Reach Your Resolution in 2013: January 1st

Welcome to 2013!  It’s a new year and for many, a chance to turn over a new leaf.  Resolutions abound–what are yours?  If weight loss happens to be on your radar, I’ve got a great series of posts coming your way in 2013.  Stay tuned for delicious (and waistline-friendly) recipes, weight loss tips, and strategies for dealing with those ever present obstacles we all face.

Speaking of which, let’s begin with a common obstacle that hits many hopefuls right out of the gates….

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One pound at a time, one tablespoon at a time

When it comes to weight loss, don’t discount the small things.  Though drastic measures may be tempting in moments of desperation, lasting weight loss can be yours with a few tweaks here and there.  Don’t get me wrong–weight loss almost always requires due diligence and commitment.  But!  If you are a clever one, you might just be able to lose a few pounds without too much heartache.  But like I said, it’s about the small things.

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Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage

Every now and then, I come across someone who has never had (or heard of!) lentils and my reaction is always the same–something bordering on shock, I’m sure.  Of course, when you grow up in the supposed lentil capitol of the world, it can be no surprise that these tiny legumes were a regular staple in my family growing up.

Nutritionally speaking, lentils are ridiculously good for you.  Just one serving (1/2 cup cooked), provides complex carbohydrates, 8 g of fiber, 9 g of protein, and a host of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, iron, a range of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus…and all for a mere 115 calories!  If you are trying to lose weight or boost your health, lentils simply must be on your grocery list.

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Kotopoulo Riganato tis Skaras (Broiled Chicken Oregano)

Here is another great recipe from The Complete Book of Greek CookingAs you’ll recall, I’ve been cooking up and posting adaptations of these recipes and thus far, they have been great.  I definitely recommend it if you are looking for some seriously good, home-style Greek cooking.

If you’re like me (and many of my clients), you are always on the lookout for new ways to cram some flavor into chicken breasts.  Not only does this recipe deliver big garlic and oregano flavor, but it is also super easy.  Bonus?  You can add this one to your arsenal of heart healthy recipes.  A quick word regarding cooking method here:  While you can certainly broil the chicken, I’m always quick to fire up the grill.

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Pico de Gallo

pico de gallo

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE pico de gallo.  Really and truly, the chips are just a carrier as I obscenely pile on this deliciously fresh salsa and shovel it down the hatch.  So good.   And even better?  It is so good for you!  Not only is it low in calories, but it is loaded with a variety of vitamins and antioxidants.  Plus, the capsaicin found in spicy peppers has been associated with heart health, not to mention possible metabolism-boosting properties and appetite suppression–helpful if you are trying to shed a few pounds.

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Basil-Crusted Salmon

This is, hands-down, my favorite salmon preparation.  I first had this while doing an apprenticeship at Restaurant Zoe in downtown Seattle.  French-trained and passionate for Pacific Northwest fare, Scott Staples–owner and Executive Chef–creates a menu like none other.  If you ever find yourself hungry in the Emerald City, I highly recommend both the atmosphere and the food.

But back to the recipe!  Like I said, I love this prep.  The sauteed salmon alone offers a deliciously crisp exterior to contrast the moist interior, but the fresh basil crust sends it over the top.  Added bonus?  This is super quick and easy to make, especially if your salmon is already skinned and filleted for you.  Another tip:  To create perfect chiffonade of fresh basil, stack your leaves and then roll them up tightly.  Use your knife to make thin slices from one of the rolled up ends; when the basil unfurls, you’ll have perfect little ribbons of basil for your salmon.

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Nutrition Makeover

It has been awhile since I last posted!  June and July have been *quite* busy, due in part to a new program I am launching for Gold’s Gym.  While Gold’s Gym might be famous for its yearly Challenge–a national contest which started right here, in my own valley–I have wanted to start a different sort of group program for the past couple years.  The timing is finally right and after much work, Nutrition Makeover will be launching in just over a week!

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Fats: The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY

Fats and Oils

We began with figuring out calories, carbohydrates, and protein.  I even spent some time chatting about alcohol.  Now fat is finally on the docket.

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More on Protein

Suppose you find yourself needing to add more protein to your diet.  Perhaps you’ve mixed up your workouts and want to make the most of them.  Or maybe you’re trying to lose weight and you’d like to preserve your muscle as you shed body fat.  You could be recovering from surgery or entering a difficult medical treatment that will sap your strength and nutrient stores.  Whatever the case, boosting your protein intake could make all the difference.

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