Deep Frying Tip

To avoid greasy fried foods, make sure your oil is at the correct temperature before adding the food.

The best way to check this is with an instant read thermometer. Make sure you use the type that reads up to the 500-degree range. The thermometers used to check steaks and roasts usually only go to 220.

You can dip the tip of a wooden chopstick into pre-heated oil. When the oil begins to bubble around the tip it is usually close to 360 degrees.

Add These Foods to Your Heart Healthy Diet!

Adopting prudent lifestyle habits and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to achieve optimal health. You can help minimize risks of heart disease and promote a strong cardiovascular system by adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:

  1. Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, cashews and macadamias contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Eat a moderate portion every day.
  2. Whole soy protein. If you substitute whole soy protein, such as edamame or tofu, for animal protein each day, you can lower levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid linked to increased risk of heart disease.
  3. Fresh garlic. This medicinal herb may help lower cholesterol levels. Use one or two raw or lightly cooked cloves a day.
  4. Green tea. It provides EGCG, a polyphenol than may help to moderate inflammation and lower cholesterol. Substitute a cup of heart-healthy green tea for your morning coffee or afternoon soda.
  5. Soluble fiber. It has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. Beans, legumes and whole grains are good sources to add to your diet – aim for one or two servings per day.

Signature’s Kirkland Fancy Mixed Nuts, 40 Ounce

15 Foods that are High in Potassium

1. Sweet Potatoes

Surprise—sweet potatoes, not bananas, rank highest on the list of foods that are high in potassium. One sweet potato packs a whopping 694 mg of potassium and only 131 calories, plus loads of fiber, beta-carotene, and energizing carbs. Baked, fried, grilled, mashed, or stuffed, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest and most delicious foods you can eat.

2. Tomato Sauce

3. Beet Greens

If you’ve ever bought fresh beets and tossed the greens in the garbage, time to change your ways. Those cooked, slightly bitter greens deserve a place at the table in part because they pack a whopping 644 mg of
potassium per half cup. Antioxidant-packed beets are also a great source of folate, raw or cooked!

4. Beans

White beans lead the pack when it comes to potassium, with half a cup delivering nearly 600 mg, but kidney and lima beans, as well as lentils and split peas, are all respectable sources. All beans are good for your heart and appear prominently on our list of the 20 best foods for fiber so it’s smart to make beans a much bigger part of your diet.

5. Yogurt

Eight ounces of plain old non-fat yogurt contains 579 mg of potassium, while low-fat, whole milk, and cultured buttermilk—yogurt’s tangy cousin—have a little less. Delicious ways to use yogurt include mixing it with granola at breakfast, using it instead of mayo on sandwiches and in salads, and swapping it for whipped cream on desserts. Bonus: Most yogurt products contain probiotics, natural bacteria that can aid digestion
and keep your gut healthy.

6. Clams

Canned or fresh, 3 ounces of clams pack 534 mg of potassium and have the highest concentration of vitamin B12 of any food. Use them to make seafood pasta or traditional New England claim chowder.

7. Prunes

Prune juice is no joke when it comes to potassium, delivering 530 mg per 3/4 cup; half a cup of stewed prunes have nearly 400 mg. While you know prunes are good for regularity, you may not know that eating
more of these dried plums can help keep your bones strong too. In one study, women who ate 10 prunes a day had significantly higher bone density than women who ate dried apples.

8. Carrot Juice

The juicing trend means more people will be getting their potassium from carrot juice, which packs over 500 mg in one 3/4 cup. Besides their potassium benefits, carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables are also great for your eyes and vision.

9. Molasses

Looking for a nutrient-packed alternative to sugar or honey? One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (the thick, dark kind) has nearly 500 mg of potassium and a respectable amount of iron and calcium.

10. Fish

Meaty fish like halibut and tuna have nearly 500 mg of potassium per 3 ounce serving, but cod and even farm-raised rainbow trout have plenty of potassium too. But potassium isn’t the only reason to add more fish and
seafood to your diet. Evidence is mounting that regularly eating fish, not taking fish supplements, can increase your lifespan, thanks in large part to the healthy fats in fresh fish; a high fish diet can even reduce your risk of death by heart disease by 35%, according to Harvard researchers.

11. Soybeans

Unprocessed soy products (think edamame, not soy powder) are a great source of protein and can also fight inflammation in the body. Bonus: half a cup of cooked soybeans have nearly 500 mg of potassium.

12. Winter Squash

Winter squash like spaghetti squash are a dieter’s dream: it has less than 50 calories per serving, yet contains plenty of vitamin A and filling fiber. But winter squash is also a great source of potassium, with 448 mg per half cup.

13. Bananas

Everyone thinks of bananas when they think of high-potassium foods, and one medium fruit does pack more than 400 mg of this heart-healthy mineral. But bananas are also the ultimate hunger buster, packed with Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that fills you up and helps to boost your metabolism.

14. Milk

Milk is a surprising source of potassium, with 382 mg per cup for the non-fat or skim version (1% and whole milk has a little less). If you’re not a fan of milk, try adding this high-calcium fluid to smoothies and healthy milkshakes.

15. Orange Juice

One of the healthiest additions to your breakfast table, 3/4 of a cup of orange juice delivers 355 mg of potassium. Orange juice, especially the fresh-squeezed variety, is a good source of calcium, folate, and several B vitamins.

Anchor Hocking 5-Ounce Heavy Base Juice Beverage Set, Set of 12

7 Times That Food Really is the Answer

Stuffing your face can be bad, but here are seven instances in which it actually helps. You know that stuffing your face can often lead to a vicious cycle of overeating, weight gain, and guilt, so in most cases it does more harm than good. But in certain situations, noshing can actually help. When life bites, here’s how and when to bite back–in a healthy manner.

1. You’re in a funk
Eat: Sweet potatoes

When you’re feeling low, resist the urge to reach for chips or candy, and bake an orange tater instead. “Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious sources of carbohydrates, and when you consume carbs, they create an instant surge in serotonin, a feel-good chemical that lifts mood,” says Lyssie Lakatos, R.D., co-author of The Secret To Skinny. And thanks to the fiber in the tubers, the carbs will enter your blood stream at a more gradual rate, helping keep your energy level stable. Read: You won’t crash later and revert to being a grumpy pants, as can happen after a peanut butter cup binge.

2. You can’t sleep
Eat: Hummus

This Middle Eastern dip may help you dive into a deep slumber, says Jackie Newgent, R.D.N., culinary nutritionist and author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes. Tryptophan, an amino acid in chickpeas, is a precursor to melatonin, and levels of this hormone rise in the evening, making you sleepy.

3. Your muscles ache
Drink: Tart cherry juice

If your trainer pushed you today and you want to give it your all tomorrow on the treadmill, swap your protein shake for cherry juice. “Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may help in reducing muscle soreness after exercise,” says Sonu Ahluwalia, M.D., clinical chief of orthopedic surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice before and after exercising can ease pain and may help speed up recovery time, so have some today and again tomorrow.

4. You feel sluggish
Drink: Coconut water

Having low energy is sometimes a sign that you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day. “Without enough water, nutrients and oxygen can’t get to your brain and muscles efficiently, and you feel tired,” Lakatos says. “As little as 2 percent dehydration may leave you less able to concentrate.” She recommends skipping the coffee and turning to coconut water for a pick-me-up since it has electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which help regulate how and where fluids are distributed throughout the body.

5. Your stomach is rebelling
Drink: Peppermint tea

Whether you’re battling IBS or indigestion, drinking one to two cups of peppermint tea may help straighten you out when you find yourself doubled over after a heavy, unsettling meal, says Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., a board-certified family medicine and integrative and holistic medicine physician. Studies have shown that peppermint can help relieve abdominal pain and discomfort by suppressing the muscle spasms that make you want to curl up in bed.

6. You have a pounding migraine
Eat: Spinach

Instead of popping a pill, try a salad. “Magnesium is used in the ER to treat acute migraine attacks, and spinach contains magnesium as well as riboflavin, another nutrient that may help alleviate migraines,” Dr. Ahluwalia says.” While studies and hospitals use supplements, foods certainly can’t hurt to try.

7. You need to raise your blood sugar levels
Eat: Dried Apricots

The best way to increase your blood sugar levels is to consume sugar-but this doesn’t mean you should plunge your face into a bowl of jelly beans. “If you feel like your levels have dipped too low, go for a healthy sweet source, such as dried apricots, which immediately increase blood sugar levels because they are rich in glucose and low in fructose,” says nutritionist Dana James, founder and director of Food Coach NYC, who recommends the fruit to hypoglycemic clients. Stick to no more than five pieces to avoid raising your blood sugar too much too quickly, though.

Source SHAPE magazine by Cristina Goyanes

Hamilton Beach Personal Blender with Travel Lid, Black

7 Steps to Cook Butternut Squash

Cut and peel winter squash for easy cooking

1. Butternut squash is one of the sweetest of the winter squashes, and it’s the easiest to peel and prepare for cooking. Other winter squashes, such as acorn and Hubbard, have a tougher skin; they’re best cut into pieces and baked with the skin on.

2. To peel butternut squash, use a chef’s knife to trim off the top and the bottom of the squash. Next, cut it in half crosswise.

3. Then cut the larger bottom section in half lengthwise.

4. You can now scoop out the seeds using a soup spoon.

5. Use a sharp peeler to remove the tough skin.

6. You can also cut away the skin with a paring knife.

7. Cut the squash into 1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick slices or large dice. The squash is now ready to be cooked the way you prefer.

Victorinox Swiss Classic 4-Inch Paring Knife, Spear Tip

7 Basic Cooking Methods

To poach food, it should be completely submerged in liquid that is between 160° and 180°. The food item remains in the liquid until fully cooked through and tender.

When simmering food, it is usually cooked with a liquid in a pot on the stovetop. It is done over low heat and tiny bubbles should appear on the surface.

Broiling is similar to grilling, except the heat source comes from the top. It is usually done in an oven by adjusting the setting to broil. Broiling happens very quickly and it’s best to watch the food carefully when broiling so it does not burn. Getting the cheese on top of lasagna golden brown and crispy is an example of broiling.

To cook an ingredient with steam, food is usually placed in a separate steamer over hot liquid. The food is cooked by the steam from the liquid and does not come in contact with the liquid.

Blanching is similar to boiling, except the food is par-cooked and then submerged immediately in an ice-bath to stop the cooking process.

Braising is a combination cooking method that first involves sautéing or searing an item, then simmering it in liquid for a long cooking period until tender. Foods that are braised are often larger proteins like pot roasts and poultry legs.

Stewing is similar to braising because the ingredient is first seared and then cooked in liquid, but it uses smaller ingredients like diced meats and vegetables.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Covered Stack ‘n’ Steam Saucepot and Steamer

6 Reasons Butter Can Be Healthy

1. Fat Soluble Vitamins
Butter is a source of vitamins A, D, K and E. It’s an especially rich source of Vitamin A in the form that is easiest for our bodies to use.

2. Helps Absorption of Vitamins and Minerals from Vegetables
When butter is used in cooking with vegetables, it helps our bodies process and use the water soluble vitamins and minerals found in the vegetable.

3. Can be a Source of ‘Omega-3 Fatty Acids’
This is a great tip for those of you, like me who don’t eat as much fish as you’d like. When cows are fed on grass, their butter contains more omega-3s. When cows are fed grains, however the omega-3 levels are greatly reduced. So it’s important to buy good quality butter from grass-fed or ‘pastured’ cows.

4. Helps Protect Against Gastrointestinal Infections
This protective function comes from a type of fat in butter called ‘glycophingolipids’. It’s been attributed to the reason that children who drink whole milk have lower rates of diarrhea than skim milk drinkers.

5. Can Help Protect Against Cancer
CLA, another type of fat that is only found in butter from grass-fed cows is attributed to having anti-cancer properties as well as preventing weight gain.

6. Trace Minerals
Butter is also a source of minerals that are required only in tiny quantities by our bodies. These include manganese, zinc, chromium & iodine

Now Designs Butter Dish, Red

6 Crock Pot Mistakes You’re Making

1. Use the leanest meat you can find
Lean meat cooked for a long time-no matter what the temperature-gets tough and stringy. Big hunks of fatty meat like short ribs and pork shoulder work best in a crock-pot. The fat will keep the meat moist, and the slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue that makes those types of cuts tough. So with a slow cooker, fatty meat = good.

2. Throw your meat into the pot raw
Everyone wants a crock-pot recipe where you just toss everything in the pot, then magically have an amazing dinner eight hours later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Always brown your meat on the stove first – it adds a layer of caramelized flavor you can’t get otherwise.

3. Don’t add anything with low notes or sweetness
A low note is a flavor that adds a depth and richness to a dish-like bacon, browned onions, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce-and they’re integral to any good crock-pot recipe. As are sweet ingredients like brown sugar and tomato paste. Because most flavors break down and become one, those types of strong flavors make a great base for a sauce.

4. Add bright notes, crunchy vegetables, and dairy at the very beginning
Bright notes are fresh flavors like acid and herbs. They’ll get lost in the mix (and your herbs will turn brown and limp, ew), so it’s better to add those ingredients last. If you want some kind of crunchy vegetable in your dish, it’s also best to add it toward the end to avoid mushy veggies. And dairy? It will curdle, which looks terrible. Stir in any dairy at the very last moment.

5. Leave the skin on chicken
Do you like rubbery, chewy, gelatinous chicken skin? Then take it off before throwing your bird into the crock-pot. Do leave in the bones, though-they’ll help the meat stay tender. And chicken is the magic meat that doesn’t need browning before going into the pot, mostly because it would be cooked too much after a long stint in the slow cooker.

6. Cook something that needs to hold its structure
Macaroni and cheese? Lasagna? Sure, there are slow-cooker recipes for them out there, but you definitely shouldn’t attempt to make them. More often than not, pasta (and other things that should hold their shape) becomes a mushy mess. Just don’t do it. Make something like chili instead if you really want to make an easy slow-cooker recipe.

Crock-Pot Smart Wifi-Enabled WeMo 6-Quart Slow Cooker

Crème Fraîche

2 cups heavy cream
1/4-cup buttermilk or sour cream

Combine cream and buttermilk in a sterile jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine and let stand at room temperature until thickened, 24-48 hours.

Shake gently, then chill until ready to use (it will continue to thicken as it chills).

Crème fraîche keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Top 6 ways to use Crème Fraîche

1. Whisk crème fraîche into a brown sauce before serving – it tolerates high heat without curdling.

2. Combine crème fraîche with a little honey and vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the fruit.

3. Top roast beef with a mixture of horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, chives, and crème fraîche.

4. When cold crème fraîche hits hot­ off-the-grill vegetables, it melts, creating an instant sauce.

5. For a party appetizer, top Crostini with smoked salmon, red onion, capers, fresh dill, and crème fraîche.

6. Use crème fraîche to make creamy salad dressings, such as the classic Green Goddess dressing.

Yield: 2 cups

Kate Aspen “Vintage” Milk Favor Jar, Set of 12