Category Archives: Nutrition

FAST, EASY, Delicious Green Beans with Tomatoes

People are actively trying to work more vegetables into their meals these days…at least that’s what we’re told to do. AND that’s what we SHOULD be doing. Here’s a delicious way to add green beans and tomatoes to a meal. It’s extremely fast and easy to prepare, has great eye-appeal AND flavor. Try it sometime! The recipe is below, following by a link to my video on preparing this dish. Enjoy! Judi

FAST, EASY, Delicious Green Beans with Tomatoes

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 to 2-1/4 cups frozen, thawed green beans
1 to 2 Tbsp water
1/4 to 1/2 tsp dry basil leaves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt
1 small fresh tomato, cut into bite size pieces

Warm a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Allow oil to warm very briefly, then add the chopped garlic to the pan. Allow garlic to cook briefly, then add the thawed green beans to the skillet. Stir to combine and allow beans to heat briefly.

Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, depending upon how soft you like your green beans. Sprinkle with basil leaves and salt; stir to combine. Add the chopped tomato. Cover skillet with lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes (YEP–that’s it!), or until vegetables are to your desired tenderness. Serve.

Cook Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Delicious Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Delicious Brussels Sprouts without Bitterness

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that many people shy away from because of the bitterness that’s often associated with them. We usually have memories of mom or grandma overcooking them in a pot full of water. They came out mushy and bitter, and were served with a heavy layer of butter to disguise the taste. They just weren’t enjoyable. Yet, we were told how healthful they were to eat, so we suffered through the experience. I too have such memories. Well, we’re STILL told how healthful they are, yet it’s hard to get past those memories.  I’m a nutritionist and I love to cook, so I decided to experiment to see if I could make them more palatable. I found a way to cook them without that awful bitterness.

The secret is simple…WATER. Water is what brings out the bitter compounds. Hence, cook with little to no water and yippee (!)…you have Brussels sprouts that actually taste good! I enjoy sauteing vegetables and prefer that method over roasting. First, it’s faster. Most people have little time today to spend in the kitchen waiting for food to cook. Secondly, there’s less chance of them burning since you’re cooking at a lower temperature, and you’re also likely to watch them more closely. Vegetable oils are more healthful the less they’re heated. So, for those reasons I’m sold on pan sauteing rather than roasting vegetables.

After working with fresh Brussels sprouts a number of times, I came up with a winning method that results in delicious sprouts without bitterness. The combination of seasonings tastes good and results in healthful Brussels sprouts that are fast and easy to prepare. I made a video to show you how simple it is. And…there’s NO bitterness! Check it out below. Enjoy! Judi

How to Roast Frozen Veggies

Roasted (Frozen) Cauliflower

Roasted (Frozen) Cauliflower

I recently had a request to make a video showing how to roast frozen vegetables. Interestingly, I hadn’t thought of doing that before, so the idea grabbed me and I quickly acted on it! I bought an assortment of frozen vegetables (yesterday), most of which will be subjects in soon-to-be-created videos. I started with showing the basics of roasting frozen vegetables. These basic principles can be applied to whatever frozen vegetable you want to roast.

The process is really very simple and fast. In fact, much easier and faster than roasting fresh vegetables. Simply thaw the vegetables in a strainer under running water. Allow them to drain well. Place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cut any large pieces so they’re relatively similar in size. Season them and lightly coat them with oil. Roast at 425F until they’re caramelized to your liking. The trick is not to over bake them! They will roast much faster than fresh veggies, so they should be checked often to prevent burning. The process is REALLY simple! To see how I roasted the cauliflower, watch my video below. Enjoy! Judi

Moist Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Moist (Really!) Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Moist Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Moist Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Here’s a spin-off recipe from my Basic Gluten Free Muffins. These muffins have cinnamon added to the batter plus a cinnamon crumb topping. They’re absolutely delicious and really not hard to make. Like my basic muffins, they’re sweetened with dates and have little added oil, yet they’re moist and delicious. The crumb topping does have a little brown sugar in it, but very little compared to the usual fare. FYI…The GF flour blend used in developing this recipe was a mixture of equal parts of millet flour, brown rice flour and white rice flour. No xanthan gum was added to the mixture, nor the recipe. It truly isn’t needed. (ALL of my gluten free recipes will be developed without xanthan gum as it gives me wicked headaches!)

Please DO give these a try and let me know how they work for you. To download the full recipe, visit my website at HandMadeInIowa.com. See below to watch my video on how to make the muffins. Enjoy! Judi

Basic Gluten Free Muffins

Delicious, moist gluten free basic muffins

Basic Gluten Free Muffins

Well…I FINALLY did it! After about 15 trials (really!), I finally hit the right combination of ingredients for a delicious, moist, gluten free muffin that’s sweetened only with fruit and has little added oil. This was no small task, since this professional baker has always baked only with wheat flours in the past. Gluten free baking is an entirely different process and most of what was learned in traditional baking simply went out the window.

I wanted to develop a muffin sweetened only with fruit in response to the recent recommendations to cut our sugar intake. So…does this muffin contain sugar? Yes, but it’s from fruit. Does it contain refined sugar? No. I wanted to create a muffin without refined sugars, and with less oils, to make a lower calorie, more healthful baked treat. Of course, it had to be moist and tasty. I did it.

Also, this is a great foundation recipe that could easily be adapted into countless variations. Nuts, fresh, frozen or dried fruit, other flavorings, and even savory combinations could be added to alter this basic recipe. Use your imagination and try it!

Even better, this muffin was made without xanthan gum, guar gum or any other such additives. It simply doesn’t need it. The pectin in the fruits, the egg white, and flax meal all work together to bind the ingredients so the finished product isn’t crumbly. I learned along the way that xanthan gum and I don’t get along…it gives me serious headaches. Hence, any gluten free baked item I make from here on will be free of xanthan gum.

For your information, the gluten free flour blend I used was my own mixture of 1 part of sorghum flour, 1 part of millet flour, 1/2 part of potato starch, and 1/2 part of arrowroot powder (all by weight, not measure). I don’t think it’s mandatory that your flour blend be identical to mine, as long as it has roughly the same proportion of “heavy,” “light,” and “starchy” ingredients. It contains no xanthan gum, nor any other such ingredient.

Note! If YOUR gluten free flour blend DOES have xanthan gum, feel free to use it in this recipe. I believe it will turn out just fine, even though it really isn’t needed in this muffin.

I’ve uploaded a video on how to make this delicious muffin. The link is below. Also, you can click here to download the full recipe (Basic GF Muffins) from my website. Give this muffin a try and let me know if it works for you! Judi

Delicious Moist Muffins (no refined sugar)

Delicious Moist Muffin made with less oil, sweetened with fruit

Delicious Moist Muffin (sweetened w/fruit, less oil)

With the recent recommendations for lower sugar intake, I wanted to develop a muffin sweetened with just fruit. Well, it didn’t take long to get the right balance for great moisture, flavor and texture. The muffin has little added oil, is sweetened with fruit, and even contains whole wheat flour and a little flax! (No worries, everyone with wheat problems…I’m still working on a gluten-free version!) This muffin is sweetened with dates. So…yes, there IS sweetener in them, but it’s not refined sugar. There’s a lot of value in whole food, be it fruit, vegetable, or whole grain. So, this is a delicious, wholesome, yet yummy comfort food. What more could you want?

ALSO…This is a rather basic muffin recipe, so the door is wide open for you to use it as a foundation to add whatever goodies you desire…nuts, fruit, cinnamon or other flavorings, even chocolate chips. Use your imagination! Check out the video below. To download the recipe, you can also visit my website at HandMadeInIowa.com. Enjoy! Judi

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere

Judi Klee, MS

Judi Klee, MS

With the recent World Health Organization’s recommendation of reducing the limit of sugars in our diet, there is a lot of information buzzing around the web about where all of our sugars are coming from. Obviously processed foods are the main culprit.

I’ve always been an advocate of homemade foods and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. However, I AM a realist, recognizing how society has changed. We’re working more, transporting kids to and from activities more, and generally we’re outside the home more with a lot less time for “homey” things like food preparation than we had, let’s say…50 years ago. It’s just a different world today, and food preparation is NOT the priority of many people. So…what are we to do?

First, if we keep foods “simple,” I think we’re headed on the right track. What do I mean by that? Include more foods as nature designed them into our day. By that, I mean more fresh (or frozen…with no added sauces or flavorings…is OK too) produce…fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains too. Shop more around the perimeter of the grocery store and less up and down the isles. And that DOES mean avoiding the in-store bakery that happens to be in the perimeter! If we focus on keeping our foods “simple” and strive to eat more as nature provided, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Examples of “simple” foods…More salads and vegetables on our plate to begin with. And NOT dressed up with piles of goo, but simply and lightly flavored in such a way so the vegetables can still be found and tasted. Savor what nature has provided! Taste buds WILL adapt to less sweetness, less salt, less fat, but it takes a little time. For the sake of your health, isn’t it worth it?

How about a piece of fresh fruit for dessert? Chew it slowly and savor the flavor. They ARE sweet, they ARE delicious, they DO have crunch, a nice mouth feel, and good texture. What more would you want out of a dessert?

Planning is important. Yep, I know you’re busy. But somewhere, somehow, you might give 5 minutes to thinking about how you can change one or two of your “usual” meals into something more healthful, including more fresh (or frozen) produce onto your plate. Write it down on a shopping list, so when you hit the store, you’ll remember your intended changes. THEN, remember to actually make those changes happen with those meals when they’re prepared!

Our habits have been established over a long period of time. They can’t be changed overnight. If you expect to do that, it’s VERY likely you won’t succeed. So…just pick one or two meals to change during the course of the week. Or…select one or two daily “habits” that you have, and strive to change them. MAKE it happen. After a change or two starts to feel comfortable and it becomes more of your new “routine,” select something else to change. While keeping your first change, work on that new change until IT becomes natural. Repeat the process. After a while, you can look back and find you HAVE succeeded in improving your diet, cutting out some of those processed foods, and are more healthy and feeling better for it.

Now…how can I help with all my videos and recipes? I’m a nutritionist who happens to love healthy foods. Yet, I’ve owned a bakery/bistro and found myself preparing items that I knew were less than health-promoting, but I baked them based on popular demand. (After all, when you’re in business you MUST offer what people want, or you won’t survive!) So now, at least some people are starting to realize they need to eat better, but are lost on how to get there. It will be my quest, to develop recipes for healthful foods, prepared quickly and simply to help YOU on your way toward eating better.

There is still a big demand for baked goods and recipes for them. Because I too have a serious need and desire to eat as little sugar as possible, as I develop recipes for baked goods, I will give alternatives to make them more healthful, especially with less added sugars. Viewers can make decisions for themselves which way to go. If we ALL strive to slowly reduce the added sugars in our diet, our taste buds will get used to the changes. You’ll feel better for it and will look better too. Do it for the health of it!

Judi