Review: Food Should Taste Good


 

logoDisclosure Agreement: Review of FSTG was due to compensation. We Dish Nutrition tested each product thoroughly and gives high marks to only the very best. Opinions expressed at We Dish Nutrition are own. 

By: Nikki Nies

I was first introduced to Food Should Taste Good (FTSG) product last fall.  Anyone who know me well, knows that chips are not a temptation food for me.  Offer me chips and I have no problem saying no, however, I am always willing to try new foods and I’m glad I was introduced to FSTG products.

The founder, Pete Lescoe’s career in restaurants and grocery stores confirmed that when real ingredients are good, the food and quality of the product will reflect it. The first flavors of chips created were multigrain and jalepeno, polar opposites in flavor, but part of the foundation of FSTG’s success. Since 2006, all FSTG products have been gluten free, cholesterol free, with no preservatives or additives, zero grams trans fats or MSG, certified Kosher and many are certified vegan.

FSTG story hasn’t been without its bumps, but I’m happy to hear how the company has responded to less than stellar responses to their line of Buffalo and Potato & Chive chips. The line of Buffalo chips were discontinued when it was clear its cousin, Jalepeno was holding down the spicy needs of consumers just fine!  Additionally, using the mulitgrain recipe as a starter for other creations, the recipe was adapted to form the popular Blue Corn chip.

In less than a decade, FSTG has expanded its line of chips, including kettle cooked chips, brown rice crackers and pita puffs.

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I recently tried the kimchi and blue corn chips for the first time. If you can get past the blue hue in the chip, which I love, the blue corn chips have the right balance of nutty flaxseed and corn.  I’m grateful FSTG assists its consumers on what to pair the chips with because I would be lost without that assistance! I wouldn’t know that blue corn chips would be great with roasted sweet potato hummus or baked cauliflower and white cheddar dip. So thank you FSTG!

While I love the pack of flavors in each chip, I would love the chips even more if they were made from 100% whole grains. I know FSTG has come a long way since 2006 and I’m sure there’s talk in the works to incorporate more whole grains, if not, 100% whole grains in FSTG products.  I understand that FSTG’s multigrain was part of the initial groundwork of FSTG, but revamping the line of products without multigrain could be beneficial.

Next time you’re in the store, check out the nutrition fact label of FSTG! Their line of products remind us that food that tastes good doesn’t necessarily have to be bad for you. For example,

Nutrient profile for Kimchi tortilla chips: Serving size: 12 chips; 140 calories; 7 g total fat; 17 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber and 2 g protein.

I was impressed to see that the serving sizes are reasonable and one can walk away content with one [maybe two] servings of FSTG chips.

nongmo-samplefbpostFSTG has made a lot of initiatives to provide only the best quality of products, we can all go to bed happy to know FSTG products have been verified by the non-GMO project.  In the spirit of transparency, the third party certification provides consumers more confidence in the quality of ingredients in FTSG.  With verification process underway, new product labeling is in the works. Check out the upcoming changes coming to your FTSG products!

What FSTG flavors are your favorite? What flavors do you wish FSTG would add to their line?

Check out FSTG’s Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | eNewsletter | Contact | Site 

Photo Credit: FSTG

Prebiotics


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Original Image by THOR via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Prebiotics are not synonymous with probiotics. While probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in cultured dairy foods, prebiotics are fermentable fibers that helps feed healthy bacteria in the gut. The healthy bacteria that live in the intestines use the prebiotics as a source of fuel. Prebiotics have been noted to help alleviate bouts of diarrhea, aiding in healthy bowel function and improving one’s immune system.  In addition, prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that allow probiotics to flourish.

Good sources of Prebiotics:

  • Fruits-berries and bananas
  • Vegetables: Garlic, artichokes, onions and some greens
  • Grains: flax, legumes, barley and whole grains, like oatmeal
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichokes

There are no specific guidelines as to how many grams of prebiotics we need to consume, but some research suggests between 3-8 grams per day.

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not influenced by heat, cold, acid or die with time. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, they form a synbiotic. Synbiotics include yogurt and kefir, which are fermented dairy products that contain live bacteria.  Therefore, thankfully, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to obtain prebiotics in your meals! Who doesn’t love a great meal of oatmeal, berries and bananas?!

Photo Credit:eHealth101

Sources:http://www.prebiotin.com/prebiotics/prebiotics-vs-probiotics/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065

http://www.prebiotic.ca/prebiotic_fibre.html

http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=57525&content=PDF

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=13431

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Prebiotics-could-help-combat-meat-pathogens-says-USDA

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/probiotics

Pseudograins


246353b24d55bd9ee4a810a9c74cBy: Nikki Nies

False grains, also known as pseudograins, are often associated with their whole grains counterparts, such as wheat, corn, barley, rice, millet and sorghum.While buckwheat has the word wheat in it, it is not composed of wheat! Confusing right?! Yet, pseudograins–amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice are becoming more popular with the more shelf space allotted Although pseudograins have different botanical origins, pseudograins are similar in composition to grains, but often superior in nutrient content–high in protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium and more! Pseudograins are seeds and grasses that are often mistaken for grains.

Quinoa has received a lot of attention, rightfully so, but how much experience do you have with buckwheat or amaranth? Did you know you can make your own soba noodles with buckwheat? Who’s up for that challenge?

Pseudograin Description Nutrition Content Use
Amaranth
  • staple of Mayan and Aztec cuisine
  • pleasant, nut like flavor
  • tiny kernels–4000/teaspoon
  • Gluten free
  • Can toast the seeds prior to use to additional flavor and crunch to any dish
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin e
  • vitamin C
  • Lysine–an essential protein
  • Breads
  • Can be popped like corn
  • Veggie Patty
  • Add to soups or chilis
  • Pudding
  • Cookies
  • Biscotti
  • Smoothies
  • Porridge or oatmeal
  • Substitute for rice, couscous, orzo or risotto
  • Without gluten, will have to mix with other flours for baking, with ratio 1:3; ¼ cup amaranth, ¾ cup additional flour=1 cup
Buckwheat
  • Is a broadleaf crop–in the same family as sorrel and rhubarb
  • seed is triangular shape
  • Dark hull is usually removed before milling–called groats
  • Kasha: toasted buckwheat groats
  • Dark buckwheat flour includes hulls
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • vitamin e
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Breads
  • Pancakes
  • Granola
  • Blinis
  • Crepes
  • Muffins/rolls
  • Soba noodles
Quinoa (keen-wa)
  • sacred staple of Incan empire
  • mild corn and bean flavor
  • fruit of the herb–does not contain gluten
  • most of quinoa consumed in U.S. is imported from South America–when grown above 12,000 feet, it has the whitest color and sweetest taste
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • vitamin e
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • As a complete protein, quinoa contains all essential amino acids
  • Stews, pilafs, salads or bread
  • Tabbouleh
  • Chili
  • As a side: i.e. to salmon
  • Quinoa crab cakes
  • Baked tomatoes with quinoa, corn and grilled chiles
  • Meatballs
Wild Rice
  • An aquatic seed found in freshwater lakes in Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • Has a rich, nutty flavor
  • Color can vary from medium brown to almost pure black
  • Protein
  • B vitamins
  • Folic Acid
  • Lysine–an essential protein
  • Stir fry
  • Rolls
  • Dressing/Stuffings
  • Soups
  • Casseroles/pilafs
  • Quiche
  • Salads
  • Risotto

Now that you have a better understanding of the versatility of pseudograins, make sure to add these foods to your grocery shopping list if you don’t have on hand already! I’m going to try my hand at making buckwheat soba noodles using the following recipe:

Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles:

Homemade Soba NoodlesServings:

Ingredients

  • 2 generous cups stone-milled buckwheat flour 
  • 1/2 generous cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  filtered or mineral water
  • Buckwheat starch or tapioca starch, for rolling the soba

Directions:

  1. Combine flours:  Sift through strainer into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water to the flour: Measure water and pour over the flours.
  3. Knead until a crumbly dough is formed: Work flours and water together with hands and knead n the bowl until it is a rough and slightly crumbly dough.
  4. Knead dough on the counter until smooth: Turn dough out onto the counter. Continue kneading until it holds together easily, does not crack while kneading, and becomes smooth.
  5. Shape the dough into a disk: Shape dough into a pointed cone, like a mountain peak. Press straight down on the peak with the palm of your hand, squishing it into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. The bottom should be very smooth. This step helps ensure that the dough is even and in a uniform shape before rolling.
  6. Roll out the dough: Sprinkle counter with a little starch and place dough on top. Sprinkle the top of the dough and the rolling pin with starch. Begin rolling out the dough, working from the center of the dough outward in long, even strokes. Gently tap the edges of the dough with your rolling pin to shape them into straight lines as you roll, gradually shaping the dough into as close a rectangular shape as you can make it. Use more starch as needed to prevent sticking. Continue rolling the dough into a rectangle longer than it is wide and 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick (as thin as possible!).
  7. Fold the dough: The next step is folding the dough to make it easier to cut straight, thin noodles. Spread a generous handful of starch over half of the dough. Fold the dough in half, like closing a book. Spread the bottom of the dough with more starch and fold the top down. Spread starch over the entire surface of the dough and fold the top down again.
  8. Slice the soba: Place a pastry scraper, ruler, or other thin, flat utensil over the top of the folded dough. Use this as a guide when cutting the noodles. Using chefs knife, begin cutting noodles 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch thick — the same thickness as your dough. Move the pastry scraper back with every cut to help you cut noodles with an even thickness. Toss the cut noodles with a little more starch to prevent sticking. Cook or freeze the soba within a few hours.→ Make-Ahead Moment: At this point, the soba can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before cooking.
  9. Cook the soba: Set strainer in your sink. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes, and set this near the sink. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the soba. Cook for 60 seconds, then drain through the strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under cool water, lifting and gently shaking the soba until the cooking film is rinsed away. Immediately dunk the soba in the bowl of ice water. Drain and serve with dashi, soy sauce, and sesame oil, or use the soba in any recipe.

Recipe adapted from Kitchn

What’re your thoughts on the soba noodle recipe? Willing to join me in the fun?

Photo Credit:Chatelaine, New Fin My Soup

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/meet-the-better-for-you-pseudograins-101346565775.html

http://sproutpeople.org/seeds/nuts/

http://www.wheatfoods.org/sites/default/files/atachments/grains-truth-ancient-and-pseudo-grains-513.pdf

Safe Food Preservation


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Original Image by Jim Champion via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Fun Fact: Food preservation permeates all cultures.  And they say we’re all different, huh?

How often do you find yourself throwing food out because you didn’t have a chance to use it before it goes bad? Or how many times do you head to the checkout line at the grocery store with the maximum amount of produce allowed due to the great sale? While these conundrums may be a common issue for you, by canning and/or preserving your food, you can have your veggies and can them too! Pun intended!

There are so many preservation methods, depending on the foods, equipment and intentions with the food.  I’m by no means an expert on canning, but I’ve had first hand experience in the food saving systems it can do!

The list below is not an exhaustive list of food preservation, but it’s a good overview of the most common techniques used and a few unique modes of preservation for those more adventurous with their canning abilities.

Preservation Method Commonly Used Foods Fun Facts
Canning Wine; milk; vegetables; fruits; meat With canning, it destroys microorganisms and inactivates enzymes; the vacuum seal prevents other microorganisms from recontaminating food within jar or can; includes pressure canning and water bath canning
Cellaring Vegetables; grains; nuts; dry cured meats Storing foods in temperature, humidity and light controlled environment
Curing Meat; fish Earliest curing was dehydration; included use of salt to help dessicate foods; uses salts, acid and/or nitrites; may employ secondary method of fermenting, smoking or sealing
Dry Salting Meat; fish; vegetables Fermenting or pickling techniques; 2.5-5% salt concentration promotes fermentation; 20-25% salt promotes high salt concentration;
Drying Often with fish, game, domestic animals, fruits; herbs In ancient times, sun and wind would have naturally dried foods—with Asian and Middle Eastern countries actively drying foods as early as 12,000 B.C. ; in the Middle Ages they built “still houses” for the purpose of drying fruits, vegetables and herbs that didn’t have strong enough sunlight for drying
Fermenting Fruits–>wine; cabbage–>Kim chi or sauerkraut ; legumes; seafood; dairy; eggs; wine; cured sausage; yogurt; meats Fermentation has been used to create more nutritious and palatable foods from less than desirable ingredients; microorganisms that are responsible for fermentation can produce vitamins
Freezing Meats, vegetables, leftovers, fruit; eggs; nuts; prepared foods Common use includes cellars, caves and cool streams; chilling foods to at least 0°F
Jamming  Fruits With use of honey or sugar; in ancient Greece, quince was mixed with honey, dried and packed tightly into jars;
Pickling Wine; ciders; chutneys; mustards; relishes; ketchups and sauces Preservation of foods in vinegar or other acids; first fermented to alcohol and then alcohol’s oxidized by bacteria to acetic acid;
Sealing Legumes; seafood; dairy; eggs; wine; cured sausage; yogurt; meats Covers food to keep out air—delaying the activity of spoilage organisms; used as complementary process to other fermentation methods, i.e. freezing or drying; relatively inexpensive
Smoking Meats Improves flavor and appearance; can be used as a drying agent; by smoking, meats are less likely to turn rancid or grow mold than unsmoked

With all this said, what canning techniques have I left out that you think should be used consistently? Have any kitchen hacks you’re willing to share with canning? We’d love to hear them!

Learn how to preserve specific foods with OSU’s guide!

Sources: http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/

http://nchfp.uga.edu/

http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation/safe-methods

http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation

http://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/preservation.html

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-preservation

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/food_pres_hist.html

Great Meals for One!


Handsome black man preparing salads in a modern kitchen.By: Nikki Nies

Several of my friends and family, including my parents, struggle with making meals that they can adequately eat since many of them are either not big eaters and/or would be cooking for one.  While I personally don’t struggle with making too many quantities of food as I love not having to cook every night, I can understand why the extra leftovers can be daunting.

In case you need tips on what to do with leftovers, you’re in luck! There’s tons of ways to reduce spoilage and to make your meals last longer.  However, if you need further incentive to get in the kitchen instead of opting for take out or a bowl of cereal, let me direct you to some worthwhile tips!

The best part of cooking for yourself? You get to eat what you want, how you want without any compromises!  Yes, there may be more freedom in the kitchen in terms of artistic creativity, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw out all you’ve learned regarding healthy cooking!

  • Utilize your muffin pan for more than just muffins! Whip up some rice and/or barley, making individualized portions using your muffin tin
  • Have leftover bread or English muffins? Wrap the leftovers up tightly in a sandwich bag to prevent freezer burn and/or use some of the leftover bread to make croutons or for dipping
  • Head to a bulk warehouse store, such as BJ’s, Sam’s Club or Costco and stock up to decrease waste and often times less expensive per pound.  Bulk produce is only worth the investment if the quantity is a realistic amount for you to consume before spoilage.
  • Opt for frozen fruits and veggies, which are often times more convenient and last longer than fresh food.  Make sure to choose frozen packages that do not have added sauces, syrup or sugar
  • Enjoy the more perishable produce, such as berries and spinach, earlier in the week.  Heartier produce such as carrots, cabbage and potatoes can be eaten later in the week
  • Make sure to always have eggs on hand! They’re a great addition to many dishes and contain a great amount of vitamin D and choline
  • Take the plunge and buy a whole package of meat and/or poultry, wrap in individual portions, date and freeze!

I’ve found the best part of cooking for myself is that I’ve gotten quite well acquainted with my freezer.  I don’t have to worry about rushing home to get dinner on the table, but when I make a casserole or have leftover soup, I can individually package the leftovers to get out for a later date.

For those of you cooking for yourselves, what tips have you found to make cooking hassle free?

Sources: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442477582

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-single-serving-meals

http://www.helpguide.org/life/cooking_for_one_fast_easy_healthy.htm

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Health/Recipes.shtml

MyPlate for Older Adults


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Source: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/hnfs/enafs/MyPlate.php

Middle Eastern Flavor Exposure


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Divya Thakur via Flickr
Original Image by Divya Thakur via Flickr

You know how you get giddy when you’re able to share a passion or interest with some one and they “get” the hype?  My friend from Wisconsin doesn’t have a lot of access to authentic Asian restaurants back home.  I found this past weekend to be the best time to introduce her to ethnic foods! The best part, she loved it!

After she had stuffed herself with the new flavor combinations, she inquired what food had she eaten.  Was it Japanese or Chinese? I corrected her telling her that since we had kimchi, it was Korean.  I wasn’t offended because she had a genuine interest in knowing exactly what she ate.  I brushed it off, stating I wouldn’t know what Middle Easterns eat besides hummus.  The Middle East consists of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey.

My conversation with her and a recent discussion I had in my Public Health class regarding culture sensitivity got me questioning why I didn’t know off the top of my head Middle Eastern traditional cuisines.  That’s my lead in to this blog post.

I’m taking this blog post as a way to increase not only your awareness of what it mean to be eating Middle eastern food and recognizing some differences within the regions.  As there are distinct tastes and ingredients in Asian cooking, it’s not fair to clump Middle Eastern cuisine under one blog post, but there are more similarities than differences in these Middle Eastern nations.  Ingredients that are commonly seen in such cooking and dishes include dates, olives, wheat, rice, legumes, and
lamb.

The Middle Eastern diet consists of the American MyPlate food groups, but has distinct emphasis on certain foods within the food groups.

Food Group      Customary Traditions
Dairy
  • More common to eat fermented dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt
  • Whole milk’s often used in desserts and puddings
  • Most common cheese: feta
Protein
  • Very common: lamb, kosher beef, kosher poultry, herring, lox and sardines
  • Pork is only eaten on Christmas
  • Pork is not eaten by Muslims or those that are Jewish
  • Less likely to see dairy and shellfish within the same meal
  • Common: black, kidney and navy beans, chick peas and lentils
Vegetables
  • Most popular: eggplant
  • Preferred to be used in raw or mixed salad with fruit
  • Can be seen stuffed in rice and/or meats
  • Olive oil commonly used in prep
  • Black and green olives are popular in many dishes
Fruits
  • Regularly seen in desserts and/or snacks
  • Fresh is the most desired kind of fruit type
  • Often used in compotes and jams if fresh fruit isn’t feasible
  • Flavorings regularly includes lemons
Grains
  • Wheat, barley or rice are often included in meals
  • Common grains: couscous, burghul, pita bread, freekeh,matzoh and/or unleavened bread
  • Filo dough frequently found in desserts

Overview of Middle Eastern Staples: 

Original Image by Mr.TinDC via Flickr
Original Image by Mr.TinDC via Flickr
  • Ful Medames: An Egyptian and Sudanese breakfast dish made from fava beans, olive oil, parsley, garlic and lemon; often served with a fried egg and pita bread
  • Manakeesh: Similar to U.S. pizza, a round bread with ground meat, herbs and/or cheese; preferably for breakfast or lunch
  • Grilled Halloumi: Cheese made from goat and sheep milk; no acid or bacteria are used during processing
  • Shanklish: Golf size cheese balls; rolled in herbs or chili flakes
  • Falafel: Deep fried ball or patty made of chick peas, fava beans or a combination of both; often served with tomatoes, sliced onion and romaine lettuce
  • Moutabal/baba ghanoush (aka baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug): Dip with an eggplant(aubergine)dish; aubergine often baked or broiled over an open flame to provide a smokey taste; sometimes eaten with pita bread
  • Fattoush (aka fattush, fatush, fattoosh,and fattouche): A Levantine tangy salad containing lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil and mint; part of the fattat dish group–all being made from stale bread as its base
  • Tabouleh: A vegetarian salad dish composed of tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, olive oil, salt and lemon juice; can be modified for personal tastes
  • Shanklish: Golf size cheese balls; rolled in herbs or chili flakes
  • Mezze: Collection of small dishes that are picked at leisure: cheese, melon, nuts, various salads and dips, such as tabbouleh, hummus, mutabbal and/or pickles
  • Shish Tawook: Skewered chicken dish; can be served with French fries or pita bread
  • Dolma: Grape leaves, chard, and cabbage stuffed with rice, ground meat, pine nuts, and spices.  Will be stewed in oil and tomato
  • Kofta: Common Pakistani or Iranian dish; minced lamb or beef balls; served with its own spicy sauce
  • Kibbeh (aka kibbe): A Turkish dish made of bulghur, minced onions and finely ground meat; most common: torpedo shaped fried croquette with minced meat
  • Shawarma:Meat, such as lamb, turkey, beef or veal are placed on spit for hours at a time; shavings cuts off for serving; usually eaten with tabouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato and cucumbers
  • Quwarmah Al Dajaj: Curried chicken; has lime, ginger, turmeric, baharat, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika
  • Mansaf: Mutton with yogurt sauce; sprinkled with almonds and pine nuts
  • Umm Ali: Egyptian bread pudding; made with milk and cream; can contain vanilla, pistachios, condensed milk, raisins and/or croissant piece
  • Knafeh: cheesecake made of Nabusi cheese
  • Kebab Karaz (aka cherry kebab or desert candy): Syrian candy that contains sour cherries and pomegranate pip
  • Baklava: pastry made of filo dough; can contain nuts, sweet syrup and honey

I’m sure I’ve left out at least one or two staples, yet only a true Middle Eastern could share from experience.  If any one has any particular food staples in their house, please enlighten us!

Sources: http://travel.cnn.com/20-best-middle-east-dishes-324556

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/publications/CaliforniaFoodGuide/20HealthandDietaryAffectingEasternEuropeansandMiddleEasterners.pdf

http://www.bonappetit.com/tag/middle-eastern-food

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5256.pdf

http://www.nal.usda.gov/foodstamp/Topics/ethnic.htm

http://www.semda.org/info/pyramid.asp?ID=1

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/pubs/bibs/gen/ethnic.html#12

http://www.eatrightny.org/nutrition_resources/files/CulturalNutritionResources.pdf

http://www.pbs.org/food/cuisine/middle-eastern/

http://mideastfood.about.com/od/middleeasternfood101/tp/popularmideast.htm