Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine

Fresh black figs in the fall were one of my favorite treats as a child. My grandfather had a fig tree in his yard behind his Brookyln brownstone and, even after he died, the family maintained that tree so it produced wonderful figs every fall.

Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat and sodium...and taste great.
Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat, sodium and taste great.

An aunt took an offshoot of it and planted that in her yard, creating a second tree that also produced wonderful figs for many, many year until she sold that house and the tree along with it. Her grandson had an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn for years and he would use figs from her yard for special fall treats there. Continue reading “Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine”

Millennium Park salad bars: some healthy options outside the park

Millennium Park has become the second most popular tourist attraction in Chicago, drawing millions of people every year to see the Bean and other sights. But as a recent Chicago Tribune article on the park notes, there are few food options inside the park. But several salad bar choices do exist within short walks of the popular outdoor venue.

My office is across the street from the park on Randolph and Michigan Avenue, so I’ve explored the salad options in the area. The best choice, and the cheapest per pound, is at the Mariano’s supermarket a few blocks north of the park. Just walk up Randolph Street toward the lake, past the sign that says no access to the lakefront, and keep walking until you see the sign to turn for Mariano’s on the north side of the street.

The store itself is tucked away behind high rises in the area. But it’s worth the hunt for it. The salad bar has a choice of container sizes into which you can put romaine lettuce, spring greens, fresh spinach and the popular kale. Accompaniments include the usual such as beets and mushroom slices. Several prepared salads also are present, but they all have too much salt for my restricted diet, so I avoid them.

A typical selection at a Mariano's salad bar
A typical selection at a Mariano’s salad bar

I also avoid the hot food bar, but you may find something on that you can eat without getting too much salt, fat or sugar, let me know if you do.

At $5.49 per pound, Mariano’s also has the cheapest salad bar in the area. I regularly load up on two pounds of salad and cut up fruit there. I also sometimes splurge with some salmon sashimi and add it as well. My average lunch there runs about $13. Continue reading “Millennium Park salad bars: some healthy options outside the park”

Gluten-free and grain free recipes: two sites to consider

While I have not been concerned about gluten in my diet, my son recently discovered he has colitis and has turned to a form of the paleo diet and gluten-free eating. The change seems to be helping him.

He and his wife were visiting for the 4th and told me about two website they use for recipe ideas, so I decided to share the sites with you should you too be searching for gluten-free recipe ideas.

We made zucchini, portobello mushrooms, salmon, asparagus and had watermelon for dessert.
We made zucchini, portobello mushrooms, salmon, asparagus and had watermelon for dessert.

The first has the great name of Against All Grains. It’s done by Danielle Walker, who describes her situation this way: Continue reading “Gluten-free and grain free recipes: two sites to consider”

Fourth of July low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar cookout options

Happy Fourth of July, the most traditional of America’s cookout day’s. While you may not be able to have the traditional burgers and hot dogs because of their high fat and sodium content (for the dogs anyway), you can find tasty cookout alternatives.

I recently had my first summer cookout for friends in the two years since my angioplasty. It has taken me that long to develop a new menu I feel comfortable serving people without feeling I’m depriving them of tasty cookout treats.

Fourth of July party ideas, all low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.
Fourth of July party ideas, all low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar.

The meal consisted of salmon with a salt-free teriyaki glaze grilled over a cedar plank for added flavor, grilled veggies that included zucchini and eggplant, and corn. A fruit salad complemented the main courses. I also made low-salt, low-fat turkey burgers (if you buy these pre-made, check the nutrition panels first, some are still loaded with salt and fat). Continue reading “Fourth of July low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar cookout options”

Steak: here’s a lean alternative from New Zealand, via Trader Joe’s

I’ve written about my quest for beef lean enough to fit into my low-fat diet. I now buy 96% lean ground beef [4.5 grams of at per four-ounce burger] for my occasional made-at-home hamburger and have given up eating hamburgers out [a Wendy’s single has 24.8 grams of fat], a sad turn of events since I once had them weekly.

Lean grass-fed ribeye from New Zealand, sold at Trader Joe's for $12.99 a pound.
Lean grass-fed ribeye from New Zealand, sold at Trader Joe’s for $12.99 a pound.

And when it comes to steak, another old favorite, I now only have fillet mignon because it is the leanest cut available on restaurant menus [4 ounces has 14.1 grams of fat]. But recently I found another alternative which I really enjoyed, a grass-fed Angus beef ribeye from New Zealand sold frozen at Trader Joe’s. You can see on the nutrition info for it here that four ounces has 10 grams of fat, less than a traditional fillet.And it had a good beef flavor. At that level, it’s leaner than a bison steak I had at Ted’s a while back, which had 14 grams of fat per four ounces. Continue reading “Steak: here’s a lean alternative from New Zealand, via Trader Joe’s”

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