Displaying articles for: December 2010
It’s hard to believe that 2011 is here! As you step into the New Year, take just a small step– towards better health that is. Too often, New Year’s resolutions are overwhelming and overly ambitious. Although my intentions may be good, it’s rare that big changes I vow to make in my fitness and eating routines stick. But taking a small step approach helps make my resolutions a reality–and those small steps add up to big health gains over time. Here’s my plan for 2011:
• I spend a lot of time working on a computer in my home office. Although I try to exercise regularly, I want to add more everyday-type activity to my day. So I’m going take my dog Daisy for a quick 10-minute spin around the park each afternoon. I’m also going to walk the three blocks to my friend’s house when it’s her turn to drive to yoga class, instead of waiting to be picked up.
• My healthy eating small step resolution is not just for me, it’s for my family, too. I want us to eat one more serving of vegetables each day. So before I start making dinner, I’m going to assemble a plate of cut-up vegetables with a side of light ranch dressing and put it out on the counter without saying a word. I’ve done this before and it’s amazing how quickly it disappears!
What are your small step health plans for the New Year?
As the year winds down it’s time to start thinking about resolutions for 2011. Committing my resolutions to this blog has helped me stay on track over the past couple of years! Many of my resolutions in 2011 are the same as 2010, although I’ve upped the ante on some of my specific goals. Replays from last year – be smart/mindful of what I eat, exercise regularly, and focus more on enjoying the moment. A new one that I’m adding is “pick my battles” (if you’re a parent you know what I mean but I think it can apply outside of kids as well!). As far as my specific goals? I’m adding at least one half-marathon to my list of races (total of 4 in 2011 and I will improve my speed. And I’m going to read at least six books – that’s double what I read in 2010 but now that my reading muscles are in shape I think I’m up for it! Please share your book recommendations! What are you resolutions for 2011?
I was thinking about all the different kinds of cookies I have tasted over the years working in the bakery. I went online to try to find out the history of cookies and was very surprised to find that they were originally small amounts of cake batter that was poured on a pan to determine if the oven was set at the right temperature (long before thermostats)
Cookies really became popular with the “invention” of chocolate chip cookies in the 1930’s by Ruth Wakefield from the “Toll House Inn” that she and her husband operated. Since that time the average American eats 300 cookies per year.
The blend of butter, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, and walnuts baking creates a unique aroma that is unmatched. At Safeway we still use the same ingredients that have been used for years, and if you happen to be in the store when the cookies are baking, you are in for a real treat.
We have our famous Chocolate Chewie Cookie, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Cranberry, Sugar, M&M Cookies, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Susans, Butter Cookies, Biscotti, Teddy Bear Cookies, Iced Animal Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, and the list goes on and on. So the next time you are in Safeway, stop by the bakery and see the great assortment, I am sure you will find a variety that will be number one on your list. What’s my favorite? I don’t need to go past the Chocolate Chip cookies, they win out every time.
Brussel sprouts are one of the vegetables that people either love or hate, and it’s probably been that way since they were first cultivated thousands of years ago. Brussels sprouts are usually sold in pint or quart tubs, but if you can select them individually from a bulk display, you can pick out the best ones. Each sprout should have a bright green color and fresh appearance and the head shouldn't be puffy or soft, have any black spots, holes, or yellow leaves. Brussel sprouts can be microwaved, steamed, broiled or braised. Cooking the sprouts slowly in stock will allow you to reduce the liquid after they're done, and use it as a sauce. This will allow you to conserve the many nutrients Brussels sprouts provide. Try Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta or several other delicious brussel sprout recipes from our website.
Interestingly December 27 is National Fruitcake Day. Fruitcake is probably the most maligned product ever made in a bakery. We all know the jokes about fruitcake being a door stop, or the ultimate re-gifting item, but are there any fruitcakes worth eating?
It started with the Egyptians making a fruit filled cake for the deceased to take with them into the afterlife. In the Roman times it was a cake filled with fruits and nuts and carried by the Roman soldiers. It could be kept for a long time without refrigeration. In the Victorian Days in England, fruitcake was highly regarded because of the Mediterranean fruits it contained.
The two largest fruitcake companies in the United States make and ship over two million pounds, so I think there are many people that really enjoy fruitcake. In my experience the actual fruit in the cake is what determines the final taste. A less expensive cake has a lot of watermelon rind, and citrus peel. If that were the only fruitcake I had ever tried, I probably wouldn’t like it either. It is sweet with very little fruit taste other than the citrus oil taste imparted by the peel.
At Safeway, we don’t use watermelon rind or citrus peel. Our fruitcake has only the finest candied cherries, golden raisins and pineapple mixed with walnuts and pecans. So if you want to find out what truly gourmet fruitcake tastes like, stop by the bakery and try a sample, you will be impressed.
As you might expect from a dietitian, making sure my family gets enough fruits and vegetables each day is important to me. Sure, fresh produce choices may be a bit more limited this time of year than during the warm summer months, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo getting your fill of fruits and veggies. Chill out with frozen varieties instead! Whether it’s a side dish of corn to accompany tacos, chopped onions added to soup, berries swirled into a smoothie or Safeway® Stir-Fry Vegetables with Asparagus tossed with sliced cooked chicken and served over O Organics™ Organic Brown Rice (found in the frozen foods section – just microwave and serve!), I rely on frozen fruits and vegetables in some form almost every weeknight. They’re a quick and convenient option, since all of the chopping, dicing and slicing has been done for me, shaving precious minutes off prep time. And best of all, plain frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh! To get the biggest bang for your nutrition buck, opt for frozen vegetables without sauces or seasonings to keep fat and sodium content in check. And choose frozen fruits without syrups or added sugar.
What are some of your favorite ways of using frozen fruits and veggies?
Wait…don’t throw out your magazines, newspapers, old maps, or books…use them to creatively craft a cover for your holiday gifts. Try hiding gifts around the house and give kids clues as to where to find them. If you can hide the gift well there’s no need to wrap it! There’s always reusing gift bags as well. I am always amazed at the level of creativity my daughter can put into wrapping gifts and creating cards from old publications. I appreciate the time and effort she puts into her memorable creations. You can gain a few tips and tricks from Google searches as well as extremely creative images to model. Happy Wrapping!!!!
The most asked question in a grocery store during the holidays is
“What is the best Turkey, if I want it moist”? There are many different
answers to this question, it just depends on who you are asking and
their particular family tradition.
To me the best decision is to choose “fresh” over “frozen”. Frozen turkeys are basted with a ‘solution’ and then flash frozen right after packaging. This process protects the meat from freezer burn. Unfortunately, when a frozen turkey is thawed, some of the natural juices come out with the ‘solution’.
The next decision is the brand. In the past, turkey suppliers offered additional additives to their bird to set them apart from other turkeys; for example Butterball offered butter under the skin, to give the turkey a nice crisp golden look after cooked. Other brands offered a 12% solution additive for flavoring. With the recent movement to “All Natural” poultry, most fresh turkeys offer very little additives, if any at all. So pick the brand of fresh turkey that fits your budget for the holidays.
As far as the perfect recipe, the months of November & December are saturated with magazine articles and TV shows that highlight their “best” turkey recipes, and most of them really sound great. You can also check out Shelley White’s “Perfect Turkey” recipe on the Safeway.com website. She uses a simple brining technique that anyone can do. Or there’s always our very own 2-hour Turkey™ recipe.
Bursting with color, flavor, and texture, this beautiful salad blends sweet with tart fruits to create a light and delicious dish. Prep Time: 20 Minutes. Ready In: 20 Minutes. Serves 6. Recipe courtesy of www.safeway.com
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 pound firm ripe pears
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed
1 (1-pound) package O Organics™ baby spinach
1. To make salad dressing, combine orange peel, orange juice, seasoned rice vinegar, and dried cranberries.
2. Core and thinly slice pears; add pears and onion to dressing.
3. Just before serving, pour dressing over spinach and toss gently.
One of my favorite flavors of the holidays is eggnog. Talk about indulgent; I was thrilled when some “light” versions were introduced! And now, they have different flavors of eggnog too, like cinnamon and pumpkin, and eggnog flavored products like ice cream, tea, and lattes – yum! During the holidays I like to substitute eggnog for one of the cups of “half & half” in my Baked French toast recipe from Paula Dean, outstanding!
What unique recipes do you create with eggnog during the holidays?
Just For U savvy savers, if you haven’t noticed already, take a look, you now have a summary of your Just For U savings on your receipt! This feature was added based on the feedback you’ve given us on the program – thank you! You still have your total savings value and percentage too so now you have two ways to see how much you save. Look for it on your receipt the next time you shop and let us know what you think!
Hey, everyone! We have some new Signature Cafe™ salsas and dips in the deli just in time for easy, holiday entertaining.
New Salsa Flavors:
• Salsa Fresca is a traditional Mexican recipe of tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro available in mild, medium or hot.
• Triple Roasted Salsa combines chunky roasted peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, roasted garlic, and spices with a medium heat level
• Salsa Fuego is a fiery puree of tomatillos, tomato, chiles, and peppers (this one is my personal favorite!)
• Salsa Verde blends grilled tomatillos, peppers, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic and spices in a traditional green, mild salsa
• Creamy Tomatillo Salsa is a mild and refreshing combination of tomatillos, avocados, jalapenos, onions, and garlic.
New Dip Flavors:
• Queso Dip is a creamy and cheesy dip with a flavorful blend of tomatoes, green chiles and jalapenos – great served heated!
• Artichoke with Spinach Dip is a decadent and cheesy blend of artichoke hearts and spinach – also great served heated!
• Cucumber & Dill Greek Style Yogurt Dip makes a perfect and refreshing companion to a crudité platter or as a dollop on a pita sandwich
Be sure to pair your salsas with our new Snack Artist ™ chips, and don’t forget to pick up SELECT Artisan baguette to serve with the Artichoke Spinach dip. Happy (easy) Holidays!
The countdown is on, and we are close to celebrating winter holidays. It is a time filled with excitement in the shopping rush to buy the perfect gifts, mail out the cards and letters, double check the dinner menu and find out who’s coming to visit. There’s always a hustle and bustle in neighborhoods across the nation, anticipating the arrival of St. Nick. But we can’t forget about those who have birthdays this time of year, or those who are sick or alone. If you are out of gift ideas for any occasion, choose flowers! It doesn’t take the largest centerpiece or arrangement to brighten someone’s day, just a few flowers can do the trick. My mom was feeling under the weather recently and I brought her a bunch of Tulips. Yes, we have tulips this time of year! This amazing gift of fresh flowers is full of cheer and happiness. Happy Holidays!
Ding-dong! This time of year, it seems my doorbell rings more than ever. Neighbors and friends drop by to wish us happy holidays, and my husband’s friends are constantly running in and out of the house. Over the years, I’ve learned that it pays to be prepared. I keep iTunes and Starbucks gift cards on hand (from the Gift Card Mall at Safeway–you can choose cards from many major retailers all in one convenient place) so I’m not caught empty-handed. And I always have a stash of quick snacks ready to go. A bunch of grapes, a quickly sliced apple, slices of reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese and whole grain crackers is a speedy snack for guests that not only looks great but tastes great, too, and doesn’t bust the calorie bank. A no-fail whole-grain snack for the younger set? My husband’s friends love popcorn, so I keep kernels on hand, ready to pop when called on. I sprinkle on Parmesan cheese or chili powder to add a little kick and cut back on salt. And it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a bowl of sliced apples and grapes or a plate of baby carrots, mini tomatoes, sugar snap peas and dip disappears when I slide it onto the table alongside the popcorn.
Do you have a stash of ready-to-go snack ideas for holiday guests? Please share!
These Apple Fluff Holiday Wreaths are simple, quick, and best of all, festive. They are also a great way to keep the little ones busy. With all the different desserts, these mini wreaths add a bit of fruit to the selection, which is always a plus. All you need are a few simple ingredients, some kids who love to be a sticky mess, and these fun wreaths will be made in no time. Since they are so quick to make, they can also serve as a fun snack time treat as well. Any apple variety will work since they are all conveniently in holiday colors. Simply core the apple, and slice into rings, about a quarter inch thick each. Next come the marshmallow fluff, green sprinkles, and Craisins to serve as the holly berries (or any dried red fruit). The decorating is the fun part for young ones. Only smear a light layer of fluff - one tablespoon is three grams of sugar. The fluff is only to give the special treat of extra sweetness and to make the sprinkles stick to the apple. Enjoy these holiday apples with a cup of hot cocoa this chilly season! Happy Holidays!
Red or green apples
Green/ red sprinkles or both!
Craisins (or any red dried fruit)
1. Slice apple on top and bottom and core.
2. Cut into rings about a quarter inch thick.
3. Spread a light layer of marshmallow fluff onto each “wreath.”
4. Sprinkle green (and red if desired) sprinkles over fluff.
5. Add Craisins around each one to look like holly berries.
I love a great deal on the products I use, particularly around the holidays! This year Safeway has a “Holiday Daily Deals” promotion (it started yesterday) that has an amazing price on a single item in the store each day between now and Christmas Eve. Keep an eye out in the ad for the products; I saw some great prices on holiday essentials like flour, chocolate morsels, rolled oats, and pies!
Our Christmas morning breakfast tradition is pumpkin scones. While scrumptious, the original recipe called for heavy cream, so I played around a bit and swapped out that and a few other ingredients to trim fat and calories, without taking away taste. Here’s my recipe makeover:
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup chilled evaporated milk
5 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
What are your favorite “swap-outs” to make holiday treats tasty and healthier?
Some of my families’ fondest holiday memories are centered on what comes out of my kitchen during the Holidays. The fudge, pies and especially the Beef Rib Roast that is served on Christmas day holds a special place in their hearts.
I start my planning at the Safeway meat counter. I order my special cut Ranchers Reserve Beef Rib Roast early for easy pick up the day before Christmas Eve. I am very precise in how I want my roast cut. I feel the center 4 ribs are the best, this way it’s not too lean and not too fatty. I also request to have the bones removed but not tied back on, I will do that after I have seasoned it.
The day of Christmas, I pull the roast out of the refrigerator 40 minutes before placing it in the oven to help in even cooking. I use extra virgin olive oil to coat the entire roast, including the ribs. The best seasoning that I have found is the Ranchers Reserve Roast Rub, available in Safeway’s meat department. I coat with a nice layer, making sure to cover the ends of the roast along with the ribs. Tie the ribs back on using good kitchen string; ask for some when picking up your roast.
Pre-heat Oven to 325 degrees.
I highly recommend the usage of a good meat Thermometer – cook to 118 degrees internal temperature, plan on 2 hours total cooking time. To crisp the outside layer, pull the roast out and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees, return roast to oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 128 degrees (medium rare). Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. This should be enough to feed 6-8 adults.
As an avid fan of seafood, I have tried many concoctions of dry rubs and wet marinades to prepare my fish and shrimp. I typically tend to stick to the basics; olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, etc. On rare occasion, I’ll venture out for a bit more flavor to try some of the gourmet spices, but I sometimes regret paying the extra money for a full can of expensive spice that I may not completely use for a while.
Recently, the Safeway seafood departments began a new marinade program that perfectly bridges the gap between my traditional ingredients and the expensive gourmet spices. You can now get a free packet of waterfrontBISTRO® seafood spices and rubs with any seafood purchase.
Choose from these 5 varieties: Cuban Mojo (Tropical blend), Chimichurri (Argentine BBQ style), Charmoula (Moroccan flavor), Tandoori (East Indian flavors) or American Smokehouse. These .4oz packets are perfect for (2) 6oz fish filets or approximately 1lb of shrimp.
The ingredients in all 5 varieties are natural so you don’t have to worry about any processed junk polluting your perfectly healthy seafood dinner. I highly recommend trying one of these to flavor your next Seafood dinner. Just ask for a free packet with your next Seafood purchase, and then let me know how it worked out for you. I’d love to hear which flavors are your favorites!
The holiday season is in full swing and our website is loaded with recipes and festive projects to help you with whatever large or small events you have! Recipes for appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and cocktails; festive projects to do with the kids, and a new section this year dedicated to Cookie Swaps! You’ll find great ideas for how to host a cookie exchange, videos on tools & techniques for cookie decorating, and of course plenty of unique cookie recipes. I’m always looking for new cookies to try. I’d love to hear some of your favorite recipes and do check out the site and let me know what you think!
Holiday parties are tons of fun, but oh-so-easy to overdo it when it comes to calories! Even though I’m a dietitian, I’m as tempted by the buffet spread as the next person. To manage my weight throughout the holiday party season, I rely on a few key strategies:
Here are more strategies to navigate holiday parties. Do you have favorite tips to share?
With only one more month left in the year I’m focusing all my efforts on finishing that last book. I just wrapped up The Girl Who Played with Fire , the second in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium-trilogy and I’ve just started the last novel; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I have thoroughly enjoyed these thrillers and I’m a little disappointed that I’m almost finished with the series. If you have any favorite books that you would recommend for my next read please share so I have something to look forward to!
Few species invoke so much emotion when discussing their source. Partly because there are so many negative connotations perpetuated by myths of both sources and partly because there really is a difference in the appearance and taste.
Some salmon connoisseurs will insist that wild salmon is superior because of its rich flavor, pristine habitat and higher content of Omega 3 fatty acids. Farmed salmon experts will argue that ‘aquaculture’ has come a long way since the days that many of today’s beliefs were originally born and that the industry is highly regulated now. Both parties can point to specific studies that support their notion, but it’s always been interesting to me to see how closely aligned the end result of the study is to the agenda of the party that funded it.
As for the flavor profiles between wild and farmed salmon, it varies slightly by species. Generally speaking, wild salmon has a richer, more complex taste because of its higher fat content- this is preferable for some, but not for others. It really depends on your individual taste preference. Wild salmon also tends to be more expensive because it cannot be processed all year round or with the same scale (no pun intended) that farmed salmon can.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on (or if you’re like me and you’re just a fan of salmon in general), you can rest assured that Safeway offers only the safest, most sustainable and highest quality wild and farmed salmon in our stores. You can find salmon caught from both sources everyday in our service cases and in our exclusive waterfrontBISTRO™ brand frozen products. Do you have a preference? I’d love to hear your comments!