Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breaking Traditions

I have not been blogging over the past few days because the family and I took a trek up north to my hometown for my niece's 13th birthday party. In the course of my travels for work, education, and pleasure I've had the distinct opportunity of being inside many buildings and many walls.  I've witnessed how others live, eat, celebrate, and love. I've observed their traditions!

I come from a large family with many traditions. 

Some are wonderful like...
My parents home on a crisp fall evening!

My mother's china cabinet!

Childhood cozy wood burning fireplace.

Church on Sunday morning.

Praying at the alter...beyond a honor.

 Then there are some traditions that are tempting and satisfying but not good for you like:
Mom's apple cobbler!

...macaroni and cheese

...fried chicken wings

...fried lake perch

These traditions, good and bad, go hand in hand when I go home.  The trick is to learn how to keep the good things and make the bad  things better. 

This YouTube video is called Soul Food is Killing Black People.  It is set to music and definitely a dramatic telling of the effect that eating soul food can have on your life.  While the video is entertaining it does have some value because it addresses real issues like diabetes and high cholesterol. I disagree with the premise of the video.  I don't believe that eating soul food is killing us instead I believe that our choices are what gets us into trouble. There are ways to eat and enjoy our traditional foods without the high calorie and high sodium content we have accustomed to.

Breaking Traditions...

Here are a few Healthy Alternatives that are from the American Heart Association:
Healthy Soul Food Cook Book

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Serves 12; 3-inch square plus 1 heaping tablespoon topping per serving
Cooking spray
1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits in their own juice, undrained
12 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup fat-free caramel topping
1 18.25-ounce package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 4-ounce jar baby food puréed apricots with pears and apples
1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed in refrigerator
2 tablespoons fat-free caramel topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Drain the pineapple, reserving 3/4 cup juice. Pat the pineapple dry with paper towels. Drain the cherries. Cut in half. Pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle 1/2 cup caramel topping in the pan. Cover the bottom with the pineapple. Evenly arrange the cherries with the cut sides up over the pineapple.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, egg substitute, baby food, and reserved pineapple juice. Using an electric mixer, beat according to the package directions. Gently spoon the batter over the fruit, lightly smoothing the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it. Invert onto a large flat platter. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the whipped topping and remaining 2 tablespoons caramel topping. Spoon onto the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrients per serving: calories, 275; total fat, 3.0 g; saturated fat, 1.0 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.0 g; monounsaturated fat, 1.0 g; cholesterol, 0 mg; sodium, 357 mg; carbohydrates, 59 g; fiber, 1 g; sugars, 37 g; protein, 4 g

Curried Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4; 1 1/2 cups per serving
Cooking spray
3/4 to 1 pound lean boneless top loin pork roast, all visible fat discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes (10 to 13 ounces each), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 14.5-ounce can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
Lightly spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray. Cook the pork, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the pork is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnip. Sprinkle with the curry powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour in the broth and stir. Increase the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Put the cornstarch in a cup. Add the water, stirring to dissolve. Stir into the stew. Stir in the cilantro. Increase the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, or until boiling and slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 327; total fat, 5.0 g; saturated fat, 1.5 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat, 2.5 g; cholesterol, 50 mg; sodium, 258 mg; carbohydrates, 46 g; fiber, 9 g; sugars15 g; protein, 24 g

Chicken with Peach Glaze

Serves 4; 3 ounces chicken and 1/2 cup peach topping per serving
1 15-ounce can sliced peaches in fruit juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup all-fruit peach spread
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each), all visible fat discarded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
Drain the peaches, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Set the peaches aside and pour the juice into a small bowl. Add the orange juice and cornstarch to the peach juice, whisking until the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in the jam and orange zest. Set aside.
Put a chicken breast half with the smooth side up between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy pan, lightly flatten the breast to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, being careful not to tear the meat. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, parsley, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Using your fingertips, gently press the mixture so it adheres to the chicken.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove the skillet from the heat, reducing the heat to medium low. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Set aside.
Immediately pour the reserved peach juice mixture into the skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add the reserved peaches, stirring until combined. Return the chicken to the skillet. Spoon the peach sauce and peaches over the chicken. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken and peaches are heated through.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 320; total fat, 4.0 g; saturated fat, 0.5 g; trans fat, 0.0 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat,2.0 g; cholesterol, 66 mg; sodium, 164 mg; carbohydrates, 42 g; fiber, 1 g; sugars, 28 g: protein,27 g

Rich and Creamy Mac and Cheese

Serves 4; 1/2 cup per serving
4 ounces dried elbow macaroni
4 slices low-fat American cheese, about 3/4 ounce each
1/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons light tub margarine
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (lowest sodium available)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red hot-pepper sauce
In a large saucepan, prepare the macaroni using the package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Drain well in a colander. Return to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until the cheese melts. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to continue to thicken.
Nutrients per Serving: calories, 173; total fat, 3.5 g; saturated fat, 0.5 g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 g; monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g; cholesterol, 5 mg; sodium, 344 mg; carbohydrates, 24 g; dietary fiber, 1 g; sugars, 3 g; protein, 9 g

Some additional tips for healthier cooking and eating:
  1. Portion control
  2. Substitute smoked turkey for salt pork and neck bones
  3. Use low fat cheese products
  4. Drink plenty of water
  5. Pass on seconds
  6. Pass on desserts
  7. Pass on alcohol beverages
  8. Pass on bread
  9. Eat plenty of lean meat--protein
  10. Eat vegetables

So here is what I did...

I ate all my vegetables....

I watched my portion sizes....

I drank plenty of water....

 I left feeling satisfied after having some of the traditional flavors that I grew up with but I didn't have to unbutton my pants or take a nap afterwards!

Wow traditions can be broken!

Oh and about my niece's birthday party....pretty AWESOME...Justin Bieber even stopped by!

I hope my niece had a Happy Beyond Fit Birthday!

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