Friday, March 25, 2011

Irish Soda Bread, Weeknight Dinners, and Nutrifact #2

Yes, I am denying the fact that I should be finishing up an assignment that is due on Monday. It's just been too long since I've posted anything. Here are a few shots of the soda bread I made for St. Patrick's Day. Same recipe as in my first post, but I also made one loaf with half of the flour as whole wheat. Everyone actually liked that one best!

They looked like monstrous versions of those paper fortune tellers or chatterboxes.

This past week I've been pressed for time and so have made simple dinners. Monday was a pasta with in a brown butter sauce with leftover veggies thrown in. To brown butter, simply put the desired amount in a pan over medium heat and keep an eye on it. The goal is to make it foam, but not burn. A tasty second step would be to toast some nuts in it. I used my last precious tablespoon of pine nuts. I also added mushrooms, one slice of bacon (easily removed from the freezer!), blanched asparagus, some leftover chicken breast, and cracked pepper.

I snapped this picture while I was cooking, but once Ryan got home, we were both so hungry I didn't want to stop for a proper photo shoot.

Next, I made a salad recipe I found in this month's Cooking Light. Here is my modified version:

Tuna and White Bean Salad
Serves 2-3
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tomato, thinly sectioned
5-10 asparagus spears
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4-6 slices cucumber, halved
2-3 cups lettuce
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tuna, packed in water

Cut off hardened ends of asparagus and steam covered for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, make dressing by combining first five ingredients. Place 1/4 cups dressing, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, tuna, and beans in a bowl and toss. Place about 1 cup of lettuce on each plate. Top with a few asparagus spears and about 1/2 cup white bean mixture. Serve with remaining dressing alongside.

Light and refreshing!

I regret that I have not had a chance to write another Nutrifact til now.

Nutrifact #2: Protein Intake and Satiety
Since I'm on campus for what feels like forever everyday, I am always trying to think of things to eat to fill me up for long amounts of time without overloading on calories. First, let's start with the basics. The recommended diet divides your caloric intake like so: 40-60% from carbs, 10-30% from fat (with <10% from saturated fat), and 15-30% from protein. Now, if you want to increase your satiety levels between meals and extra fiber isn't working for you, try consuming closer to 30% of your calories from protein. Most women need about 1800 calories if they are at least semi-active (which they should be), so this would translate to 540 calories per day from protein. Men on the other hand could get closer to 900, depending on how active they are.

The most effective way to add protein to your diet in such a way to increase satiety is to consume it at breakfast. Add an egg (6g protein/egg...and all in the white), Greek yogurt (14g protein/6 oz!), low-fat meat, or low-fat milk (1g protein/1oz).

Here are my favorite filling breakfast combos:
1/3 cup oatmeal cooked with water topped with a fried egg and 1 tsp butter (200 calories, lasts for about 4 hours)
6 oz lowfat vanilla Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup bran flakes and a few frozen berries (225 calories, lasts for about 4 hours)
1 piece toast topped with 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1 orange or other high-fiber fruit (190-250 calories depending on the type of bread, lasts for at least 3 hours)

All of these breakfasts combine fiber and protein to keep you going until your lunch break! Try it out!

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