March Madness Beginnings; Talking with Our Recipe Developer

It’s down to the Championship round in our Recipe March Madness, which means your votes will pick next week’s 500th Health-e-Recipe. To make it as one of our cancer-protective recipes, we go through a rigorous process that involves a lot of experts, including recipe developers. I chatted with cookbook author and one of our developers, Dana Jacobi, to discuss hoDana Jacobi head miniw she became interested in healthy eating and why new cooks may want to grab a chicken breast.

Dana, a self-taught cook with French culinary training, developed a passion for cooking at a young age. After a 20-year career in marketing, she took a leap of faith to pursue her passion for food.

Q: How did you start cooking?
A: I grew up in New York City and always loved food. My family and I were adventurous and open to trying new and unfamiliar food and cuisines. When I was in high school I started to cook for fun and my mother encouraged me to make dinner anytime I wanted.

Q: How do you generally go about developing recipes?
A: One of the most important things for me is seasonality. Working with fresh, beautiful ingredients that are in season make for good building blocks. Sometimes my creativity is sparked by a specific ingredient or by a meal as a whole. I also like to keep tabs on current trends and I keep a list of things that I see in food magazines, blogs and websites. Continue reading


Cooking for the Family… Gluten-free, Vegan and All

dreamstime_xs_32728722From vegetarian to vegan, diabetic to gluten-free, is your family’s table one of the many Thanksgiving spreads looking to please special diet restrictions?

These diet restrictions mean you have to make changes to traditional recipes and this may present a lot of “hangups” for both the rookie holiday host and the tenured chef of the family. We can lend a helping hand.

Makeover #1: Stuffing, Gluten free

This staple is usually made with bread, which contains a protein called gluten.  People with celiac disease must avoid gluten completely; others may be sensitive to gluten and experience intestinal discomfort. Here are a few suggestions for your gluten-free diners:

Makeover #2: Macaroni and cheese, healthier version

Please vegetarians or non-turkey lovers with a creamy, delicious and healthy mac and cheese dish.

  • For an easy change to a crowd favorite, swap out the regular macaroni noodles for whole-wheat or whole-grain noodles to give your mac and cheese a fiber boost
  • Also, check out AICR’s recipe for Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. Adding pumpkin keeps the familiar creaminess without overloading on cheese
  • If you’re not into pumpkin, try a macaroni and cheese made with a cauliflower cheese sauce. You’ll get your fix of cruciferous veggies, while still enjoying a holiday favorite Continue reading


Halloween Candy, the Aftermath

dreamstime_xs_26875681When all the Halloween hype is over and you’re left with pounds of candy, how do you get rid of excess candy and take away the temptation for kids to overindulge? We, at AICR, have found some thoughtful and creative ways to rid your pantry of the excess candy Halloween leaves behind:

  1. Donate leftover candy to programs like Operation Shoebox, which take candy donations and send them overseas to deployed troops. I’m sure a trick-or-treat bag would really brighten the days of some of our hardworking soldiers.
  2. Your local dentist may be participating in Operation Gratitude’s Halloween Candy Buy Back Program. Dentists hold events where cash, coupons, toothbrushes, services or creative exchanges are options for candy buy backs.
  3. Also think about your students. Toss a couple pieces of candy among other things in a box and send it to your stressed college student to let them know you are thinking about them. Being that I am only a year out of college myself, I understand the appreciation for this gesture. In college, there is nothing like receiving an unexpected package with goodies and reminders of home!
  4. Consider using leftover candy for art projects such as gingerbread houses, Christmas is quickly approaching, as well as other holiday arts and crafts.
  5. For those of you with family members who have birthdays around this time of year, throw a couple pieces of leftover Halloween candy in party favor bags instead of buying new. You could also use it to fill a piñata.
  6. Throw leftover M&M’s into homemade trail mix for a sweet component.
  7. Lastly, for you parents, after all the Halloween hysteria dies down and candy has been dealt with, grab those dark-chocolate pieces the kids won’t eat – you too deserve a small treat after all of your hard work.

 

Happy Trick-or-Treating!!