My second heart walk – a very moving experience

I recently participated in an annual event here in Chicago, an American Heart Association fund-raising heart walk, that I found profoundly moving for me.

Me with the heart mascot, sporting my survivor's cap and beads for each year since my 2012 surgery.
Me with the heart mascot, sporting my survivor’s cap and beads for each year since my 2012 surgery.

Survivors of heart attacks and strokes receive special heart association baseball caps for the event, red for heart attack survivors, white for stroke survivors. They, I, also get strings of mardi gras-like beads, one for each year they have survived. I received three strands of beads this year, the third since my 2012 angioplasty.

Putting that hat on brought me to tears in 2014, the first year I participated, and it did so again this year. It is the only affirmation I get, really, that I have survived a massively traumatic event and am still alive. Continue reading “My second heart walk – a very moving experience”

A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium?

Chinese food is a cuisine I love but have given up since my 2012 angioplasty because of the high sodium content of almost anything containing soy sauce or other salt-heavy Chinese sauces. I did binge on Chinese food for a birthday a few years back, but that’s been it.

A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.
A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.

So I was excited to see this recipe for broccoli beef stir fry from the American Heart Association. It uses only a tiny amount fo low-sodium sauce sauce, one tablespoon, for a pound of beef and two pounds of broccoli. I might add some Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki marinade to intensify the Chinese flavors a bit. Continue reading “A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium?”

Let us discuss lettuce, is it all the same?

Lettuce is something I eat daily since my angioplasty in 2012. A salad is my normal lunch when working at home, or eating away from home.

My wonderful salmon salad.
My wonderful salmon salad, made with leftover salmon. A salad is my lunch daily these days.

I generally buy a spring mix of various lettuce types at Costco or elsewhere if I see the one–pound box on sale. I also buy baby romaine hearts at Costco which can be used in place fo taco shells for some reformulated Mexican meals.

Is all lettuce the same? Not exactly, says fitness expert Jillian Michaels, the former Biggest Loser trainer. The greener the leaves, the healthier, she says. Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap from her, and a lot other nutrition experts. It was the only kind of lettuce I ate as a kid, I miss it these days.

Jillian suggests mixing the lettuce types you have for some variety. It’s all green stuff to me.


Baby carrots more ways than you can imagine

Baby carrots are a simple yet tasty side dish. I steam them for dinner or eat them raw as a nibble food when we have guests over. I’ve also posted a recipe to turn them into a salad.

So I was excited to see this Food Network post about 14 ways to use baby carrots. Some of these are just plain wacky. Carrot freezer pops? Well maybe.

Carrot freezer pops? Not sure how tasty these would be.
Carrot freezer pops? Not sure how tasty these would be.

Carrot juice is not my cup of tea (pun intended). And the glazed carrots involve butter which I don’t eat any longer. I may try them with just the honey or maybe with some olive oil first and then the honey to get a healthy fat on them. Continue reading “Baby carrots more ways than you can imagine”

Standard Market Grill — some nice salad choices

Restaurants attached to supermarkets are all the rage these days, but the food can be spotty depending on how much the supermarket really wants to invest in its prepared foods operations. Often too, anything made is loaded with too much salt and fat.

So I was a bit wary when a friend suggested with try the Standard Market Grill in Naperville. The grill is attached to the Standard Market next door, a typical new age supermarket with a lot of produce and prepared foods for busy shoppers to take and eat at home.

My Standard Market salad with salmon, a tasty lunch treat.
My Standard Market salad with salmon, a tasty lunch treat.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the salad offering sat the grill. I shied away from the dressings but forgot to say no cheese on my Mediterranean salad which included grilled salmon. Luckily the cheese was only crumbles of feta so I was able to stay away from most of it. I also asked for no croutons. Continue reading “Standard Market Grill — some nice salad choices”

27 Live goes Greek — Oompa!

27 Live is an Evanston music and events venue whose restaurant has had several lives in the recent past. I wrote about it last March when my wife and I enjoyed a meal there. It went through some menu changes (and some neighbors told me the food went a bit downhill).

My octopus with artichoke.
My octopus with artichoke.

But now it’s reopened its restaurant companion as a Greek place, Kefi Greek Tavern. We went to check it out and found some dishes we enjoyed.

The menu offers both small plate and large plate choices. We were in a bit fo a rush because we had play tickets the night we went, so our server advised us not to order some large plate options we wanted because they took 20 minutes to cook. So we instead made our meal out fo small plate offerings and we happy with the choices we made. Continue reading “27 Live goes Greek — Oompa!”

Grilling kitchen indoors — this pan does the trick

My birthday this year included a very special meal with three generations of my cousins on Staten Island, N.Y. My cousin introduced me to a girl pan she uses to cook foods on her stove top in a very healthy way. She made me chicken cutlets that day that I loved.

My grilled chicken, green beans and low-salt barbecue sauce.
My grilled chicken, green beans and low-salt barbecue sauce.

I planned to buy a grill pan for my house but recently my in-laws gave me one along with their magnificent outdoor gas five-burner grill. I decided to try to duplicate my cousin’s chicken meal.

Since we didn’t have cutlets handy, I cut two rather large chicken breasts in half length-wise and then pounded them down further so they were thin and would cook quickly on the grill.  Continue reading “Grilling kitchen indoors — this pan does the trick”

Another tasty-looking tomato sauce recipe from Recipe Rehab

Recipe Rehab is a TV show I have recommended here. It takes grossly unhealthy recipes from American families and asks tow chefs to reimagine them in healthier ways.

Recipe Rehab's Chef Richard and show host Evette Rios watching him make this tomato sauce.
Recipe Rehab’s Chef Richard and show host Evette Rios watching him make this tomato sauce.

It doesn’t always get enough salt out, in my opinion, but at least it tries. And in the process hopefully it gets viewers to think about eating healthier foods. I’ve blogged about a roasted cherry tomato sauce (we call it gravy) recipe I tried from the show. Recently, I saw another tomato sauce recipe there I plan to try as well. Continue reading “Another tasty-looking tomato sauce recipe from Recipe Rehab”

Sabra has a new low-salt pineapple salsa

The Sabra brand is known mainly for its hummus. It was always a favorite of my vegetarian daughter when she was home from school and likely still is if she can find it in her new home of Portland, Ore.

Sabra pineapple salsa
Sabra pineapple salsa

We buy it ourselves at Costco for parties. But in recent days, Costco also has been carrying a Sabra pineapple salsa. Salsa is normally high in salt, although there are low-salt varieties out there which I’ve written about. When I checked the new Sabra pineapple salsa, I was pleasantly surprised to see it is relatively low-salt. Continue reading “Sabra has a new low-salt pineapple salsa”

Oreo maker plans healthy snacks? Really? Here’s the rub

Mondelez International, maker of Oreos, caught my attention last week when it said it wanted to make more healthy snacks.

“Management stated that it plans to offer more good-for-you snacks and expects 50% of its product portfolio to comprise “well-being” items by 2020 instead of one-third at present.

Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?
Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?

“Apart from simplifying the ingredients and improving nutritional benefits of the existing products, the snacking giant will also develop products to cater to the growing consumer demand for healthier and natural items,” reported investment site Zacks.

Welcome to the dilemma facing major food processors today. I love Oreos, absolutely love them so know that I am not a Oreo basher by any means.

But I no longer eat them since having an angioplasty in 2012 because of my concerns about clogging my arteries and/or driving my blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Continue reading “Oreo maker plans healthy snacks? Really? Here’s the rub”

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