January 29, 2016 by admin
When my husband was a little boy, his mother made him “pappa gialla” on cold, wintry mornings. The northwestern region of Italy where he grew up was notorious for a bitter dampness that penetrated down to one’s bones. His mother’s semi-soupy concoction of milk, flour, sugar, eggs and Marsala wine was her antidote to the intense cold outdoors.
One nutrition trend that is emerging for 2016 is breakfast soups (aka smoothie bowls). Served in a bowl or in a to-go container, this combination of your personal choices of fruit, dairy, protein, nuts and grains gives you all the powerhouse nutrients of a juiced breakfast PLUS the fiber that doesn’t get tossed.
I think this can be a wonderful start to any day. I’ve put together some of my favorite ingredients for a wintry breakfast soup, and, in deference to my mother-in-law, even added a touch of Marsala. This is an out-of-the-box kind of breakfast. Maybe it’s for you! keep reading »
September 23, 2015 by admin
Most of the time when I visit my home in northern Italy, I voraciously ask family, friends and even produce vendors for ideas and recipes they recommend for various ingredients. Sometimes, though, I become the source of such information for them. Breakfast foods would be a case in point. Italians are not the best breakfast people. Travel and the internet have led some inquisitive people to try something new. I do my part too. I’ve offered these muffins to my fast-paced relatives and friends as a perfect antidote to their beloved brioche or biscotti breakfast. I added pinoli for an Italian twist but any nut will work well.
July 28, 2015 by Johanna Burani
Here is a quick, delicious, nutritious and low glycemic homerun to start the day. You can change around the fruit and the nuts. Pinoli (pine nuts) and hazelnuts are my choices when I’m in Italy. My son, Matteo, has just planted raspberry bushes behind his house, so I’ll probably stick with the raspberries this season. keep reading »
June 8, 2015 by Johanna Burani
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)
The fog of San Francisco is a distinctive characteristic of that beautiful city. It can make the sun, the Golden Gate Bridge and tall buildings and trees disappear before your eyes! This famous fog also carries colonies of a local bacterium called Lactobacillus San Francisco. It is the secret ingredient of another well-known feature of San Francisco: its sourdough bread.
The basic ingredients of any bread are flour, water and yeast. The yeast, when hydrated, feed on the starch in the flour, increasing them in size and number (budding). As this process continues, the flour mixture ferments, producing what we call a “dough.” We shape it, bake it and then eat it. Most of us love the taste of this final product, bread.
But when bacteria enter the usual mix, magic happens. They produce lactic acid during fermentation and give the resulting dough a tangy or “sour” taste when baked. This is what the Boudin family discovered quite by accident when they left Paris and set up a bakery to serve both locals and gold-rush prospectors in San Francisco in 1849. They thought they were preparing their Parisian recipe for baguettes. The San Francisco fog, however, heavy with wild Lactobacilli San Francisco, unwittingly changed their recipe forever. Their new and unique sourdough bread became an instant hit.
Today sourdough bread is enjoyed throughout America and beyond. Its high acidity (pH 4.0 – 4.5) makes it a good low glycemic carbohydrate choice (GI 48 – 57). It moves slowly out of the stomach and into the small intestine gradually releasing glucose into the bloodstream. This is good news for blood glucose control, satiety, weight management and energy endurance.
You can use sourdough bread as you would any other type of bread. I like grilling thin slices of it rubbed with raw garlic and then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
May 7, 2015 by Johanna Burani
Vinegar is 95% water, contains no protein, fat, vitamins, or hardly any other nutrient (it only “weighs in” at 2 calories/tablespoon). Yet the ancient Babylonians, Greeks and Romans praised it for its medicinal virtues, as do many of today’s cultures. Vinegar has been used to treat wounds, burns, insect bites, poison ivy, headaches and chronic fatigue. It is also believed to promote digestion and relieve stomachaches. keep reading »
March 12, 2015 by Johanna Burani
We can call it “cellulose, pectin, lignin, roughage,” or we can just say “lentils, berries, nuts, beans, artichoke, carrots.” What we’re talking about is dietary fiber. We all know fiber is good for us for regularity and cardiac and glycemic health and certainly for satiety and weight loss.
A word about the beneficial effects of fiber on weight loss. Literally, one word: “easy.”
A 2012 study conducted at the University of Massachuettes School of Medicine confirmed findings from other studies, namely, that focussing on just one dietary change: eating sufficient fiber (30 grams) every day, promotes gradual weight loss.
How nice that, for a change, we can add food to our diet when trying to lose weight rather than take it away!
What does 30 grams of fiber look like on a plate? Well, it would be on 3 plates (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and some quick-grab snacks too. Take a look:
Breakfast: a cup of old fashioned oats with a cup of strawberries (7 grams)
Lunch: ham and cheese on 2 slices of rye, and an apple (8 grams)
Snack: 1 oz. almonds (4 grams)
Dinner: a cup of beef barley soup, a stuffed artichoke (12 grams)
Snack: 6 oz. fat-free Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (1 gram)
There are 32 grams of fiber right there! See how easy it is? Now, if this seems like too much fiber too quickly for your system, start with less high-fiber foods and work your way up.
Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic’s list of fiber-rich foods to you get started.