Thursday, April 8, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Dang!...some food is HARD to make

I've been lucky enough to have a group of Austin chefs include me in an event they call "Meaty Monday Madness!" On the first Monday of the month, one chef picks a type of meat--anything from brisket to hearts--and everyone makes a dish with that main ingredient. Some of the creations are amazing. This month, rabbit. I decided to go all-out by making Braised Rabbit Ravioli with a Creamy Reduction Sauce. Oh yeah, the pasta was home made, too. Between weights, dry-land training and swim practice, IT TOOK ME TWO DAYS!
Fact: Making rabbit raviolis all from scratch is hard work.

Fact: When making a reduction sauce do not season it as the salty flavor will only magnify as it reduces. I learned this the hard way...a mistake you only make once.

Fact: Before placing raviolis on wax paper or on any surface they will sit on for extended periods of time make sure to flour both sides so they won't stick. I had a big problem as I didn't do this and they stuck like a leach. The remedy is to put them in the freezer and as they freeze you will be able to peel them apart much easier.

Fact: Making homemade raviolis definitely impresses the ladies. Holla!

Fact: They were delicious! Chef David Bull who has battled on the show "Iron Chef America" even loved them:)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: How to Help End Hunger...

I love to eat and get super-excited about it. (Wait until you see my rabbit ravioli post.) It’s important to remember that many people don’t have an abundance of food. This tweet caught my eye:

FoodBank4NYC
10:44am, Apr 06 from API
RT @CTFoodBank On #CharityTuesdayask yourself: RT @USCIrini have you volunteered @ a #foodbank?#thebiggestloser #poundforpound #endhunger

You can support feeding the hungry no matter where you live. When you do, tweet about it using one of the hash tags above.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Rabbit Anyone?

Rabbit anyone? Easter is right around the corner and my guess is that y'all are preparing to cook up some wild rabbits...no? Well since this is the season for bunnies I though it would be appropriate to feature them on the Friday Food Fact. Let me first apologize if any of you are offended and/or grossed out about the thought of eating a rabbit. To lighten the spirits you should know rabbit has been regarded as a fertility symbol and has long been included in Easter menus. So for those of you looking to reproduce yourselves, definitely go out and get a rabbit for the Easter table;) Rabbit has been domesticated and included on the table in France for centuries.

If by chance you're not planning on cooking rabbit for Easter have no worries, I'll cook one in honor of you. You might recall that I attend a potluck here in Austin called Meaty Monday Madness. The host is my friend Zack who is the chef and owner of the wine bar and restaurant 'Mulberry' in Austin. The first Monday of each month Zack invites a bunch of his friends, which many happen to be local chefs, to his house for a grand eating festival. This month's featured item is, of course, rabbit. There will definitely be a future post on the Meaty Monday Madness extravaganza!

So is rabbit healthy for us? The answer is yes and no.

The Facts:

  • A great source of protein which helps our muscles grow and stay strong.
  • High in Iron which promotes red blood cell growth and health.
  • Packed with Vitamin B-6 and B-12 which helps in the building and stability of red blood cells as well as helps keep our immune system strong.
  • Good source of magnesium which helps keep our bones strong, regulate blood sugar and supports our immune system.
  • Be careful rabbit is high in cholesterol.
Much like most things we eat there are positives and negatives in it's nutritient content, rabbit is no exception. If you'll be cooking rabbit this Easter I hope it turns out great! If rabbit is not your cup of tea then I respect that too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: School Lunches

School lunches are undoubtedly the topic of much discussion. You may have heard Michelle Obama has started a campaign to change school lunches. Jamie Oliver is hosting a TV show called "Food Revolution" in order to illustrate the difficulties in the school lunch programs, as well as see if he can help a largely obese community. As I am very involved in nutrition and eating healthy this is really exciting for me to see such big efforts being made.

Jamie Oliver has an online petition that anyone can sign in order to show the President how much America cares. A recent tweet by queen food blogger Jaden Hair caught my eye. Click on her link and go sign the petition!

@SteamyKitchen "Have 30 secs? Pls sign @jamieoliver's petition-I stand strong for better nutrition & healthy kids http://ow.ly/1sFhn (plsRT)"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Red Meat

Are you a fan of red meat? Are some cuts better for you than others? Find out as I give you all the info in my "Athletic Foodie Tip of the Week"



Please disregard the misspelling in the video...I have no control over that:/

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Governor Perry's Appointment

Never did I think I'd post one of my own tweets as the "Tuesday Tweet of the Week". I like to think of myself as a very humble and down to earth guy who is not one to toot his own horn. Last night I was thinking about what to feature for today's tweet. As I searched through tweets I'd seen in the previous week I couldn't stop thinking about the one tweet I've received the most response from. So I did it. I went there. I decided I had to blog my own tweet. So here it is people. Don't judge me;)

"Hot off the wire...@GovernorPerry appoints @G_WeberGale to his council on physical fitness and sport! http://ow.ly/1pkSn"
As many of you know I'm super passionate about food, cooking, and nutrition. This passion has led me to found AthleticFoodie, which is a company dedicated to helping people live a better life through better nutrition. Recently Texas Governor, Rick Perry, has appointed me to his council of physical fitness and sport. I am super pumped about this. I can't wait to help make a difference and promote, exercise, nutrition, and overall health. It is a great honor to have been appointed to this position and I look forward to working very hard to help in any way I can!

Finally I think I'm actually starting to make a difference and get somewhere with all of this:)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Food Fact: White Rice vs. Brown Rice

How does white rice differ from brown rice? A friend asked me this the other day and I couldn't give the exact answer. Immediately I knew this had to be the Friday Food Fact. So I did some research and here's the skinny.

First, after the rice is harvested it goes through a huller/husker to remove the outside grain husk. After this process is complete you're left with brown rice. From brown rice the grain becomes further processed by the removal of the germ and inner husk (bran). After the removal of the germ and bran the only thing left is what's called the endosperm. Finally the grain is then polished using either glucose or talc. What's left is white rice.

In the processing of the grain many nutrients are lost including Vitamin E, Thiamin, Ribofavlin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Iron to name a few. In addition white rice has been totally robbed of it's dietary fiber containing about 1/4 of what brown rice contains. Often you will see white rice that has been 'fortified' or 'enriched which means they have synthetically added back some of the original nutrients into the white rice. Crazy huh?

The same process and loss of nutrients is largely true with white vs 100% whole wheat baked goods such as breads, bagels, English muffins etc.

Here's an idea. Let's get back to eating the 'whole' foods nature intended us to eat. There's no question we'd be better off for it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: McDonalds and Health?

Do you want to eat like an Olympian? Well according to a McDonald's commercial which aired constantly during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics now you can...by eating their food. You may remember the commercial stating, "Now you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to eat like one." Wait, really? Is McDonald's 'sweet chili sauce' really the fuel Olympians eat for performance? Although I wish there weren't two sides to this story, sadly I must confess there are.

In my experience eating in the dining hall at the Beijing Olympics, I've seen first hand that many athletes do in fact eat McDonalds. Some even eat it right before their events...I even know a couple personally (including ones who won medals). So it's evident McDonalds does have truth in their statement. I shall bear all truth, too, 'after' my Olympic events were over I too delved into some McDonalds. It was a rare treat however.

On the other hand most Olympic athletes do not eat at McDonalds during their competition schedule. In fact many athletes turn their nose up at the thought of it. While training to compete at high levels of sport can and sometimes does include infrequent fast food and junk, generally it does not.

Social responsibility. The 'appropriate' phrase which came to mind when I saw McDonald's Olympic commercial. Is it socially responsible to link healthy Olympic athletes to unhealthy, yet tasty food...and imply that by eating it you too can be like an Olympian? Obesity in America continues to break historic records. Companies like McDonalds continue to try and align themselves with health through special meal programs, and commercials like the one discussed here. In this case, McDonalds should be ashamed. Do they not realize the negative effect they're having on society? Just like some of you, there were some other thoughts that went through my mind when I saw their commercial...explicit ones!

The following tweet reignited my thoughts about the McDonald's Olympic commercial, which brings us to the Tuesday Tweet of the Week. The tweeter is a guy named Rich Roll who is an UltraMan. Rich is as fit as they come. Check out his website to learn more about the crazy races he undertakes.

@RichRoll "Weight Watchers deal with McDonalds!?! This enrages me. Just another way McD is co-opting American health. MUST READ http://bit.ly/agjd35"

What are your thoughts? Please let us know!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Training Our Lungs with Underwater Bikes

I'm basically holding up over 250lbs there...no big deal baby!
Just cruisin'

Poppin' a wheelie. Holla!
Just another sweet trick in my arsenal...

Stretchin' out for max points

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Some Food Life Facts

For a few minutes let's just imagine humans could live on air. What if the feeling of hunger is simply to force us to get together and communicate with other people? I don't obviously mean this in a literal sense but what if this were true.

2010, the birth of the "Friday Food Fact" here on the Food and Water blog. 2010, my first experience in attending foodie/chef potlucks here in Austin. How could I have only found out about these this recently? A potluck...what a genius idea! Great food, unique drinks, new and interesting company...brilliant. What's even better is that you're not solely relied upon to create everything. My mind tells me the more potlucks the better. We'll see if my midsection agrees.

Fact: I've met more new and exciting people in a few short months attending food-enthusiast potlucks and food events than I have in the previous couple years in Austin.

Thoughts: The more I get involved and intertwined in the food and cooking world the more I realize how food can bring people from all walks of life into one conversation. People from all over the world from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different races, different ethnicities etc. can all discuss food. Of course they can all technically discuss anything but food is something everyone has at least some knowledge about. For instance, what foods did you eat growing up, what's the family traditional cuisine, were there certain crops or staples used in what you ate/eat, how do spices vary among cultures???...the list goes on. Not to mention, everyone attending is totally into the fact that we're about to eat some really legit food baby. The environment is set for a great time as well as the perfect place to meet like-minded people.

Fact: Before cooking in Italy and New York I was always very apprehensive about cooking for others. My expectations were always very high which always led me to think my food was never good enough.

Thoughts: Working in a kitchen in Umbria, Italy for over a month this past summer and doing a "stage" working at restaurant Daniel in NYC gave me a huge boost of knowledge, skill, and confidence. They also gave me the "kitchen cred" to spend time in other kitchens. My expectations are still high (they always will be) but now I'm getting closer and closer to meeting them. Just like anything the more you do the better you become. No longer do I shy away from having others over for food. Cooking for potlucks has made me even more fearless. (Check out the stuffed striped bass above from Wednesday's event.) At a potluck I attended last month I was the only non-chef to prepare an entree. I made Bison heart. Not only was this an odd thing to make but I had no idea what I was really doing. The final product was delicious and got rave reviews from other chefs. Let's keep this going. I love getting more and more confidence in the kitchen...such a pleasure.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So Happy! Clearwater Tomorrow

A weekend of fast swimming followed by a week of hard training. Boom. Getting back into the swing of things fast. I am on a mission to get more fit. I want my core to become freakishly strong. The weight room is where I'll be. Iron is what I want. Power is what I want. Blazing swimming is what I expect. I'm so reinvigorated and excited for this summer season. Fast swimming is in store.

Geeezzz and I'm soooo happy too. Why am I happy? I can't put a finger on exactly why I'm so happy. One thing for sure was some fast swimming last weekend. Training is going well this week. My relationship with both of my coaches is strong (so important to me). I'm cooking my little butt off. Being in the kitchen always makes me feel good and relaxed. My food career is coming along nicely with a couple cooking gigs planned in the next month. My social life is what I want it to be! Yikes...all is great with the world:)

Tomorrow I'm traveling with my friend and training partner Matt Lowe to Clearwater, Florida to train with the big man, Randy Reese. I love going down and training with Randy. He's such a trip... First off he has the most dry and hilarious sense of humor of anyone I've ever been around. The man tells you exactly what he wants from you, exactly what he thinks of you, exactly what you need to do to get where you want to go... He's exactly my kind of guy...no BS! Matt and I will be there for a little over two weeks and expect to get our butts whooped everyday. I can't wait.

Check back tomorrow for the Friday Food Fact. I hope y'all are doing great. Do what you love...all the rest will work itself out:)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Addie Broyles Gives SXSW Eats

At every turn my food knowledge, writing and experience are seemingly becoming greater and greater. There is no doubt I'm completely in love with food and cooking. Heck, I want to make a career out of it. Rather, I am going to make a career out of it. One of several great occurances so far this year has been my intro to the world of foodies and other bloggers in the Austin area. The scene here is really well represented with enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and humble people. So far I've done several things with different 'food' groups and every one has been great.

This weekend is the start of a big festival called South by Southwest. Characterizing this event is difficult. It spans many days, includes music, food, movies, tech seminars and more. Sadly, I won't be around to experience any of the food festivities as I'm leaving Friday morning to go train in Florida for a couple weeks. I'll depend on others to keep me up to speed.

One of the true leaders of the Austin foodie world is named Addie Broyles. She is a well respected food writer for the Austin American Statesman, a food blogger, and no doubt a twitterer. One of her recent tweets really caught my eye. My initial emotion was excitement, followed by a bit of sadness in that I'll be unable to attend. This tweet however is a great one for all of you who will be in town for SXSW and/or are interested in the general food scene here in Austin. Make sure to also check out Addie's blog and twitter feeds.

@relishaustin: "SXSW Eats: Parties where food is the headliner http://bit.ly/bVOxQw"

Dang I wish I could go to some of those!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Old school?? You bet, as tribute to Matt Biondi




When Aaron Piersol laid down the gauntlet, I had to give it a try. How about instituting a "Man Law"...? Check out this article in The Austin American Statesman gives the rest of the story.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

You might have heard about this essential vitamin in health class, at your nutritionist, from your doctor, a coach, or maybe even in one of the famous Roger Clemens testimonials. What's certain is that B12 is an essential vitamin humans need to sustain a healthy life.

Effects of B12:

  • Supports the production of red blood cells which helps prevent anemia.
  • Helps our cells metabolize proteins, carbohydrates as well as fats.
  • The Mayo Clinic states it, "helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells."
Best sources of B12 include Sardines, Venison, Shrimp, Scallops, Salmon, Beef, Lamb, Cod, milk and eggs. The book 'The World's Healthiest Foods' by George Mateljan says, "Vegans must pay attention to their intake of vitamin B12 since this vitamin occurs primarily in animal foods..." In order for vegans to ensure they are getting an adequate amount of B12 you may want to consult a doctor and/or nutritionist to see if a B12 supplement is suitable for you.

An interesting fact...George Mateljan also states, "vitamin B12 cannot be made by animals or plants, but only by microorganisms, like bacteria. When plant foods are fermented with the use of B12-producing bacteria, they end up containing B12."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Slow Cooking Seafood

A few weeks ago I read a really interesting article @JasonFalls tweeted which talks about how Twitter is more of who 'you' follow than who follows you. After reading this I sat and thought about the concept for a bit. What a great point. What I did was started to go through people I already follow and find other interesting people they follow. I know this is probably already what most of you do but I'm just a bit slow to catch onto the practical application of Twitter. I now use twitter as a means to learn from others. Ain't no thang;)

Soon thereafter
I began following @amandahesser who is a Food columnist at the New York Times, an author, and was a founder of Plodt.com and food52.com. One of her tweets really caught my eye...

"My method for perfectly cooked seafood that even the most distracted cook couldn't bungle http://bit.ly/9Xodrc"

If you like seafood you'd better click the link!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eating Like an Olympian...An Inside Look at the Olympic Village Dining Hall


Below is a story I wrote for The Austin American Statesman

As the athletes of the 21st Winter Olympiad prepare for the sporting moments of their lives, one thing's for sure: They all need to eat. After winning two gold medals in the Beijing Olympics for swimming, I know firsthand what the athletes of Team USA are about to experience as they fuel their bodies to win gold in Vancouver.
Over the years, I'd heard stories of the mounds of food, huge seating areas, desserts in droves and strangely, McDonald's. So when I approached the dining hall of the Olympic village in Beijing for the first time, my heart began to pound harder and faster in anticipation. It was if I were witnessing the parting of the Red Sea when the hall's sliding doors opened. Eyes wide, I was in awe of the rainbow of color and commotion. One foot in front of the
other, I walked into this massive structure that seemed as big as two football fields.
Surrounding me were all the colors of the rainbow. At the Olympics, each country's perfectly tuned athletes are draped in clothes that feature the colors and insignias of their homeland. Forget deciphering where you were based solely on the language. There were too many to have any idea what you were listening to.
Fellow University of Texas swimmer and three-time Olympian Ian Crocker told me that when you first arrive in the Olympic village, you'll walk around completely on a high for the first couple days. He was right \u2026 at least on an emotional level.
But my purpose in Beijing jolted me back to reality like I'd been grabbed by an internal force with the power of Goliath. It told me, "Hey, buddy, you're here to take care of business, and you can't afford to expend this much emotional energy on the simple act of eating." Through my nose I inhaled a deep breath of surprisingly clean Beijing air, and as the carbon dioxide left my mouth, so did the excitement. Now my mind-set was right: I came to Beijing to win gold medals \u2026 no time for people-watching.
I began my search for the food my body required for maximum performance. The difficulty was where to begin. I turned on cruise control and began to peruse the massive dining hall. Cruise control? Think again. This was no open highway, but rather a New York City street during rush-hour traffic, much like the athletes in Vancouver will face in their own dining halls.
In Beijing, as athletes walked into the dining hall, there were two huge salad bars with various types of greens, beans, veggies, pasta salads, pickled veggies, nuts, cottage cheese, fruits, cereals, granolas, yogurts and more. In the same area was a large bakery pumping out muffins, scones, croissants, pretzels, five-grain breads and bagels. At the end of the salad bar and opposite the bakery was the dessert area, with a huge spread of cookies, cakes, parfaits, bread pudding and candy bars. Throughout the games, I stayed strong and didn't touch a dessert until my events were over. Trust me when I say I was not the norm.
The more substantive food was along the back wall. People waited in line at each food station, elbow-to-elbow with all sorts of famous athletes, from gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson to Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki.
The aromas and flavors were all-encompassing. In keeping with the Olympic spirit, there was food from all around the world, including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Asia, America and Italy (including a huge pizza bar) and a sushi bar. One section was dedicated solely to different preparations of duck (probably 15 to 20 per day). Depending on your desires and appetites, you could enjoy anything from baked salmon or chicken to curried lamb, blackened sea bass, chicken Parmesan, quinoa and black bean salad, mac and cheese, filet mignon, wild rice, sweet potato casserole and so much more.
After filling my tray for my first meal at the Olympics, I found a seat among fellow Team USA athletes. Generally, athletes from the same country sit together, but this isn't always true.
As I ate, I looked to my right. Lo and behold, who sat down literally five feet from me? Nothing short of the greatest tennis player in the world, Roger Federer. What a surreal experience. Not only was I taking in the Olympic experience for the first time on the first day, but I ended up sitting next to one of the greatest athletes of all time. Incredible. The real beauty was that for the most part, people left him alone.
Every diet's different
So what do the top athletes eat? Who decides the menu? Do they serve everything a world-class athlete needs?
Many athletes have strict diets both in and out of competition, but a surprising number gorge themselves on McDonald's and desserts. Some determine their diets based on calorie counts, protein content, carbohydrate levels and vitamins and minerals. Incredibly, each food item — from lasagna to raw broccoli — was individually labeled with nutrition content.
Each athlete's diet is different for several reasons, including the nature of the sport as well as the body type. Calorie counts and consumption vary widely.
The Beijing Olympics were the epitome of efficiency. The single dining hall streamed hot and nutritious food to more than 16,000 village residents 24 hours a day inside the hall, which could accommodate 5,000 people at any one time. With an estimated 5,500 athletes competing, the winter Olympics are somewhat smaller than the summer Olympics. Just like in Beijing, athletes train and compete at different times, so the Vancouver Olympians will be served around the clock as well, but in two dining halls — one in Vancouver and one in Whistler.
In Vancouver just as it did in Beijing, an international food service company manages the dining hall. The menus are sent to the head dietitian and nutritionist at the U.S. Olympic Committee, then circulated to 14 other dietitians and nutritionists around the world.
Among the differences between the Beijing Olympics and the Vancouver Olympics — besides the cold weather, of course — are some of the higher altitudes. The menus were adapted to help the athletes deal with the environment.
Susie Parker-Simmons, a sports nutritionist at the U.S. Olympic Committee, said that feeding athletes at altitude presents special concerns.
First, there is the need for more calories as the body works harder to adapt. At altitude, men will burn more carbohydrates and women more fat, she said. Among the foods provided to counter that are nutritional oils, nuts, seeds and fish.
Parker-Simmons said that at high altitudes, athletes will also need foods rich in iron as their bodies try to build more red blood cells, which the body manufactures in greater numbers to help carry oxygen to muscles. Iron helps promote the building of these red blood cells.
Fed for success, the competitors of the 21st Winter Olympiad are ready to show the world what they and their countries are made of. The athletes know one thing for sure: All the proper nutrition is being provided for them. The moment of truth awaits. The only question now is whether they have what it takes to bring home gold.
Breakfast of champions
The swimming schedule in Beijing was organized so the finals would be played on live TV to the American viewing audience. This meant the swimmers would be doing something completely new: swimming finals in the morning.
This presented a bit of a different routine for the athletes. Breakfast turned into the meal that would not only help fuel us for the day but also gas up our bodies to win gold.
As an Olympic athlete, it's very important to stay true to your diet, your routine, and listen to your body. The Games are a time to mimic the same eating habits that got us to this level by eating similar foods, at similar times, before competition and monitoring how full we are. It's not a time for experimentation.
The morning of my first Olympic race - the dramatic 400-meter freestyle relay in which the U.S. beat the French and won gold - I stuck to my routine.
After waking up and swimming for a bit in the village pool, I headed to the dining hall. The breakfast and/or pre-race meal for me always contains high carbohydrates, some protein and some fruits.
My breakfast of champions was oatmeal with a banana, some almonds, dried cherries and cranberries, prunes, yogurt, orange juice and dried cereal with low-fat milk.
Part of eating is for comfort. I eat oatmeal a lot, and the warm flavors and textures make me feel at ease. On top of the nutritional benefit, it's important to eat things that help us stay grounded and relaxed.
On my walk from the dining hall to our dorm, I passed Michael Phelps and his coach, who were headed to breakfast. Michael said to me, "Did you hear what the French guys said in the paper this morning?" I said, "I don't even want to hear it. It doesn't matter. We're going to go to the pool and take care of business, and that's all that matters."
Take care of business is exactly what we did. Go, U.S.A.!
- Garrett Weber-Gale
GWG's Freestyle Granola
Granola is a passion of mine - it's a sweet, crunchy, satisfying breakfast and the perfect healthy portable snack. I've tried just about every brand in the supermarket. Once I realized how easy it is to make granola at home, I experimented until I came up with just the right blend of fruit, nuts, seeds and grain. You might want to double this recipe because a) it's addictive and b) you should be nice and share with your friends (or teammates).
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups old-fashioned oats
4 oz. raw almonds, whole
4 oz. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder (gives the granola a great crunch)
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
4 oz. dried apricots, chopped
4 oz. dried cranberries
Place the oven racks on the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar and oil. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is dissolved. Stir in the vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, pepitas, wheat flour, dry milk powder and flax seeds. Pour the warm syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to combine well.
Divide the moistened oats evenly on two baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, then stir with a metal spatula and rotate the sheets to opposite racks to ensure even baking. Bake another 20 minutes, then stir and switch pans again. Bake until the mixture has a fragrant, toasty aroma, about another 15 minutes. Cool the granola in the pan, breaking up any large clumps with a spatula. When the mixture is completely cool, mix in the dried apricots and cranberries and store in an airtight container.
- Garrett Weber-Gale
Garrett's Smoothie
1 banana (rich in potassium)
1 cup frozen mango (25 percent of daily Vitamin A)
1 cup frozen peaches (200 percent of daily Vitamin C)
1 cup frozen cherries (25 percent of your daily Vitamin A and 10 percent of daily iron)
2 Tbsp. milled flax seed (high in dietary fiber, omega-3s and folate)
11/2 cups orange juice (high in Vitamin C)
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. For a more liquid consistency, you can add more orange juice or even some milk. Do not add sugar or mix in ice cream.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Tofu...Don't be Fooled, It's Good

Food: Tofu (derived from soybeans)

History: First a little background on soybeans... Soybeans are originally from China and have been cultivated there for over 3,000 years. Soybeans made their debut into the USA in the early 1800s as ballast aboard a ship. US farmers began to popularly farm them starting in the 1940s. Tofu was first discovered about 2,000 years ago. It is sometimes referred to as the "cheese of Asia" because it is made in a similar fashion to cheese (coagulating soymilk). Tofu has little inherent taste which is why cooking with it can be so simple, it will pick up basically any flavor it's cooked with.

Nutritional Benefit: Tofu is an excellent source of Tryptophan which is an essential amino acid our bodies need to maintain health. Manganese also has high concentration in tofu which helps your body maintain healthy and strong bones, helps synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol, and helps maintain a normal blood sugar level. Four ounces of tofu contains 33% of our daily needs of Iron. Iron is an essential nutrient our bodies need to maintain the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen.

Ways to Cook: Tofu is one of the most underrated foods with a terrible rep. But why? It's delicious! It has the ability to take on any flavor that it is dressed with. Some Top Chefs even fry it in pork fat to give it that meaty taste. But to all you vegetarian friends out there, have no fear, it doesn't take fat to make it taste good. One of my brilliant friends sent me this recipe that she claims is delicious, especially when served with steamed spinach and squash (yup, the squash made it in there). In the recipe that follows my friend used 2 tbs of Garam Masala instead of the paprika, cumin and coriander. The Garam Masala adds a bit of heat and is complemented with the drizzle of honey.

When asking around how others prepare their tofu, baking seemed to be a preferred method--cut into slabs or cubes, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper, and heat at 350 until browned on both sides.

You can buy tofu in three basic types:

  • Soft tofu: nutritional substitute for milk in smoothies; eggs in a scrambler
  • Firm tofu: cubed and sauteed/baked, found in a lot of Asian dishes
  • Extra-firm: sliced and used as a meat substitute (ex: Lettuce and Tomato sandwich)



Spice-Crusted Tofu

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Get to Vancouver...For FREE!!!


  • Help AT&T Support Team USA by downloading never-before-released songs, from top recording artists like Mariah Carey and 3DD
  • You can also download ring tones and answer tones for these exclusive songs
  • Proceeds from all downloads go directly to support Team USA
Text USA to 2257 or go to att.net/TeamUSA for more information

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Social Media and Honey

A few interesting tweets...

@JasonFalls...Ways to move your Facebook fans to action. Nice stuff from @marismith on @smexaminer today - http://cot.ag/avgs0B

  • Jason is a social media expert and speaker. His blog helps readers learn about the crazy world of social media and the internet.
@NutritionExpert...Did you know? To make 2.2 lbs of honey, bees have to visit 4 million flowers, travelling a distance equal to 4 times around the earth!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Dried Fruit vs. Fresh Fruit

For the Holidays my parents got me a food dehydrator. Since then I've dehydrated apples, nectarines, tomatoes, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe. I've really enjoyed trying new things and seeing how they turn out. However, I was unsure of the nutritional differences in the dried fruits vs fresh fruits so I decided I'd do some research.

Today I had a visit with my nutritionist. I'm a very inquisitive person and always go in to see him with a list of questions. Definitely one of my questions today was about the differences between dried fruit and fresh fruit. Is there a difference in nutritional content? How does the nutritional content change? Are there more calories and/or sugar in one versus the other?

My nutritionist and I discussed some things and after leaving I went to go do some more research. Here's what I learned.

  • Dehydrating shrinks down the fruit causing some nutrients as well as the calories and sugar content to concentrate.
  • Certain nutrients such as Vitamin C can be diminished in the drying process if too high of heat is used.
  • Many dried fruits are higher in fiber than their fresh counterparts.
  • Research has shown that drying blueberries actually increases its antioxidants.
  • Drying with high heat can reduce the effectiveness of the protein in the food. The protein in the food is still there but it is harder for your body to digest and absorb it.
  • Due to having a higher sugar content dried fruits can be easily satisfy a sweet tooth.
  • Dried fruits are a great source of quick energy...plus they're easy to take with you.
Some useful blurbs I found in the New York Times about the nutritional content in certain dried fruits...written by C. CLAIBORNE RAY

"for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160."

"A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams."

I'll be drying the heck out of fruits in the coming weeks. The important thing I'm going to remember is to ration the amount I intake. Dried fruits should be a supplement to the fresh fruits. I won't need too much to satisfy my needs. In the past I've always taken dried fruits with me to competitions. Dried cranberries and prunes were the two I had with me in Beijing. If you're going to buy them in the store always make sure there is NO sugar added.

Happy Healthy Eating My Friends.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Apolo Ohno

The Olympic movement is so unbelievably inspiring to me. Watching the athletes of the XXI Olympiad compete in Vancouver is such a treat. I'm literally addicted to it! My pride to be an American and watch our fellow Americans battle for the Stars and Stripes is out of this world. The Olympic movement's beauty is the purity in it's efforts and in the competitions it holds.

@_Katie_ brought the following tweet to my attention and I think it summarizes the Olympic movement's ideology and existence more perfectly than anything else I've seen.

@ApoloOhno tweeted, "Live this....everyday. http://tweetphoto.com/11534108"

Monday, February 15, 2010


  • Help AT&T Support Team USA by downloading never-before-released songs, from top recording artists like Mariah Carey and 3DD
  • You can also download ring tones and answer tones for these exclusive songs
  • Proceeds from all downloads go directly to support Team USA
  • Text USA to 2257 or go to att.net/TeamUSA for more information

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sweeps to Win a Free Trip to Vancouver!



Help AT&T Support Team USA by downloading never-before-released Ring Tones and Answer Tones, from top recording artists like Mariah Carey, 3 Doors Down and Rascal Flatts. Proceeds from downloads support Team USA. To purchase, go to http://soundtrack.att.net/
Trip Details:
Winner leaves to Vancouver on 2-20 and returns on 2-24. 5 day 4 nights in 4 Star accommodations, tickets to 5 Olympic Events, airfare and tax incentive.

Text USA to 2257 or go to att.net/TeamUSA for more information

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Travel Meet Eating Tips

Traveling to swim meets (and even on business and/or for pleasure) can easily throw our general dietary regimen out of whack. The comforts of our own homes are lost. No longer do we have the refrigerator stocked with all our essentials, a pantry where we can find healthy snacks, nor do we even have the option to cook our own meals. The reality that our eating habits at times of travel are going to be a bit different is not necessarily a problem. What's important is that we have a plan for how we are going to manage the situation.

For those of you who know me, you'll know that I'm not much of a planner. Logistics and thinking ahead on travel is not always my strong-suit. However, I generally do a pretty good job of bringing along some of my essentials that I know help contribute to my healthy diet. Here is a list of some ideas I try and do during travel:

  • If you're really on your game you might want to scope out a few places to eat before you arrive. Find some healthy spots. Ask around or even tweet a question to followers about where to go.
  • Hydration is a big issue when traveling. Sometimes we don't even realize how dehydrated we become during travel until it's too late. If you're on your way to a competition then you'd better be thinking about hydrating throughout the trip. I like to pack something called ElectroMix and mix it into my water to help keep my body full of electrolytes.
  • Packing snacks is easy and will make your life a lot easier. Some of the things I bring are dried fruits (apples, mangos, strawberries, cranberries, prunes, cantaloupe, and blueberries), nuts (walnuts and almonds), and energy bars (Cliff Bars and Powerbars).
  • My workouts always include a sport's drink during exercise and a post-workout drink after exercise. Be sure to pack enough of these with you so you don't run out. I always try and pack more than I need in case something happens...one time a Black Bear snuck into my room and was eating my recovery powder right out of the bottle...we got into a fight...naturally I won.
Most meets include dining out at restaurants. The ultimate is to have meals prepared for you which are in keeping of what you ate in training. At the Olympic Trials in 2008 and the World Championship Trials in 2009 my parents prepared meals and brought them to the meet for me. What a lucky guy I am! If you are going to dine out it's important to have some things in mind:
  • Go for things that look the least processed. If I have the choice of a whole baked sweet potato or sweet potato casserole I'll always chose the whole food. No need to mess with nature.
  • Ask for your veggies steamed without salt. Most places will heavily salt them as they saute them in oil.
  • Always ask for whole grain and whole wheat breads.
  • Do your best to stay away from the desserts...if you're competing you surely don't need them.
  • Keep the sodas and heavy sugar drinks out of your hands. Drinks high in sugar will spike our energy levels suddenly but will then drop dramatically and put us in a valley. At meets it is important to keep our energy on a level playing field. We want our adrenaline to pump us up, not sugar.
Trust me when I say it's hard to do all of these correct. We're are all humans and sometimes we make mistakes and need cheats. The important thing is to be mindful of the good habits to have during travel and put them into action whenever and wherever we can. Keep up the good work.

AT&T TEAM USA Trip Give-Away





Help AT&T Support Team USA by downloading never-before-released Ring Tones and Answer Tones, from top recording artists like Mariah Carey, 3 Doors Down and Rascal Flatts. Proceeds from downloads support Team USA. To purchase, go to www.att.net/TeamUSA.
Trip Details:
Winner leaves to Vancouver on 2-20 and returns on 2-24. 5 day 4 nights in 4 Star accommodations, tickets to 5 Olympic Events, airfare and tax incentive.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Tasty Tweets

Twitter is undoubtedly a pretty sweet way for all of us to stay connected and also follow some of our favorite personalities. Today's Tuesday Tweet is not actually a specific tweet. Rather it is an article referencing a few of my favorites to follow in the food world. The only difficult part in following some of these chefs, foodies, and down-right food junkies is that they post some pretty delectable photos...and they make me wish I was there.

One thing I've found really great in following some of these people is that I often find inspiration in what they're doing. Generally I've come to the point in my cooking that I don't use recipes. I like to look at what's around me and create something from whatever is in my environment. Sometimes it's difficult to do this however. Viewing pictures of @Emeril, @BFlay, and @RuthReichl's food and/or reading what they think really helps me think outside the box. Follow some of these fellow food friends and see what comes to your mind.

Tasty Tweets

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Brussels Sprouts

I know sometimes this food comes with bad wrap, especially with kids, but give it a go...I really love these things and eat them often. You gotta always try something at least once:)

Food:
Brussels Sprouts

History:
These little greens that look like small cabbages originated in Europe and were named for the capital city of Belgium. Brussels sprouts were first introduced to England and France in the 19th century and were later brought to North America when the French settled in Louisiana.

Nutritional Benefit: Although Brussels sprouts are small they are packed with nutrients. They are high in vitamin C, A and E which are great anti-oxidants and also provide anti-inflammatory protection. They are very dense in vitamin K and folate. Vitamin K helps the body absorb calcium and promotes bone health in addition to help in the prevention of hardening arteries. Folate helps in the production of red blood cells and also helps prevent anemia.

Ways to Cook: First you want to make sure you wash them. Many times there is dirt on the outside that we don't want. After washing them I generally discard the outer layer that has bruised or torn leaves. From here you can do one of two things.

1) Cut the bottom off perpendicular to the sprout. 2) Cut an upside down V in the sprout and remove the hard stem.

If I'm going to steam them I use the first method. If I bake them I cut an upside down V. My favorite way to prepare them is to cut them in half after cutting the stem out in a V. Then I put them flat side up in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, grind some fresh black pepper, sprinkle on some garlic powder and thinly sliced red onions and then bake at 375 until lightly browned. If you like you could sprinkle a little bit of sea salt over the top but due to my high blood pressure, and my feeling that you simply don't need to for great taste, I don't.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: Good advice on eating well from other foodies

One of the really fun things about Twitter is that it brings people and information to you that you might not otherwise see. To help share some of what I see, I plan to start showcasing a tweet every Tuesday in my new "Tuesday Tweet" feature. For the first one, I saw some foodies tweeting about Michael Pollan in reference, I think, to his new book, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. Dang, I need to get going and read that thing! Then I would know for sure which book it came from.
RT @erinelberson RT @jennsutherland: Oooh, good one! RT@fourchickens: Michael Pollan: "If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't."
Check back next week for my Tuesday Tweet. Or stop in Friday for my Friday Food Fact. Meanwhile if you see a food and nutrition tweet or a story or blog that's cool, send it my way. I might just feature yours. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter at @G_WeberGale.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mixing Business with Extreme Pleasure

(My frozen mustache)
Finally I'm sitting back at my desk in my own house in Austin, TX. January 8th I left Austin to go train in Clearwater, FL with Randy Reese. We arrived to amazingly cold weather along with a very warm welcome by the man himself, Randy. In my mind, Randy is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches in the world. Last January was my first trip to train with Randy and the experience with Randy’s was so great that I had to go back for more. He gave me a lot more. Over the course of the three weeks I was down there with him he royally whooped my butt in the pool. He had one main goal, to make me cry, he failed miserably. However he definitely made me feel like I'd been put in a grinder.

One of the big inspirations of going to FL was to give my mind some new scenery. Training day in and day out in the same facility can get old sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love Texas, the Texas swimming program, my coaches and my life in Austin but the truth is sometimes I need a refresher. From the moment I got down to FL I was racing new people, swimming new sets, driving new roads and having new conversations. The intent worked, I was very happy getting a change of pace.

After my training trip in FL I traveled to Colorado Springs. USA Swimming is based there and they asked me to come up in order to sit in front of a panel and answer questions. Travel to beautiful Colorado Springs and answer questions? Sure I'll do it...what an easy and honoring task! My stay was wonderful in CO. There was an option to stay at the Olympic Training Center or in a hotel but luckily I have some great friends there that I stayed with. We had a wonderful time catching up and also went to a delightful dinner.

While up in Colorado I was asked to talk to a swim team in the area. I happily accepted. One of the things I truly enjoy and am deeply honored to do is talk to kids. It's truly incredible and no doubt I'm very fortunate to have people take my words as meaningful. The kids are always happy to learn and never cease to entertain...we even got an eight year old girl to sing Jingle Bells!
The trip finished off with an unforgettable highlight...snowboarding in Breckenridge. The plan was to mix business with some extreme pleasure. Success! It had been since 1997 that I'd snowboarded on a mountain in Colorado. Eight of us trekked out to Breck to enjoy the sunny skies, loose powdery snow and great company. The morning of the trip I woke up naturally at 5am. Many many many mornings I've arisen at 5am and never once that I can remember was I this happy to be awake. On the car ride to Breck I could barely contain myself. The other people in the car were like, "Dude we're not even there yet." No matter, I was pumped. The day ended up being perfect. One of my huge dreams is to one day have a place out at a ski resort in Colorado! What a magnificent trip. However, it feels great to finally be home. (Our crew at the top of Imperial Bowl)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Food Fact: What is a Calorie?

You’re a world class athlete so how many calories do you eat a day? Have you heard how many calories Michael Phelps eats per day? Isn’t it all about calories calories calories? Yeah yeah we’ve all heard the jibber jabber about calories but who really knows what a calorie is? Do you know what a calorie is? For a long time I had no idea. You’d think that with how often the word calorie is used in our society that everyone would know the exact origin and definition, but many people simply don’t. Herein lies the beauty of the Friday Food Fact. I’m here to help y’all out (that is if you don’t already know the answer).


So here’s the skinny:

In the simplest view a calorie is a unit of energy and was first defined by professor Nicholas Clement in 1824. The term began to enter French and English dictionaries around the time of 1840s. There are two basic definitions of calories. First is the Kilogram calorie that is the amount of energy it takes to raise the water temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. Second there is the gram calorie that is the amount of energy it takes to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. In terms of food and nutrition, the Kilogram calorie is used and is simply referred to as Calorie. Gram calories were commonly used in chemistry and physics.

How does this relate to us? Whenever we eat something we are receiving some type of calorie from it. The calories can either be packed with nutrients such as if we eat a sweet potato, or they could be empty calories such as drinking a soda. Empty calories provide us with no other nutritional benefit and should be limited in our diets. As our body digests food we convert the substance we ate into usable energy. As I’m sure you can already assume, the more we use our muscles and exercise, the more calories we burn. The US Department of Health and Human Services states that in order to lose a pound of weight we need to burn or cut back 3,500 calories. Conversely eat 3,500 calories extra and you gain a pound.

We’ve all heard about counting calories. Personally I’ve always found this to be both a pain in the butt as well as pretty impractical. It’s very difficult to constantly monitor and keep track of exactly how much we eat. I believe that when you eat healthy you don’t have to worry quite as much about the quantity of calories you’re consuming. When it comes to the amount, I always go by what my body tells me to do. We all know what it feels like to be full. I simply don’t let myself get to that point. I eat until I feel good and am about 80% full and then stop. You can always come back later and have a little more if you need it. Don’t overeat, don’t be filled to the brim. Try not to get to the point when you feel like you’re going to explode. That's just gross!

If you want to count calories and that works for you I totally encourage you to do so. In reality the best way to do things is to find eating habits that are comfortable to you and help you achieve your goals. Remember, you can live a better life through better nutrition.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Talent? Is There Such a Thing? Ducasse Doesn't Think So

Afraid of getting in the kitchen? Think you don't have any talent in the world of burners, ovens and sharp utensils? World renowned chef, Alain Ducasse says he doesn't really believe in talent. Looks like you're in luck...

Click the following link to read the insightful words of one of the world's greatest culinary minds. My guess is that you'll get some encouragement too!

"Alain Ducasse Doesn't Believe in Talent"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Buffalo aka Bison

Food: Buffalo aka Bison

History: American Bison is also commonly known as American Buffalo. The term buffalo dates back to 1635 while the term bison is a bit more current as it was first recorded in 1774. The American buffalo is only a distant cousin of the true buffaloes which are the Asian Water Buffalo and the African Buffalo. These large creatures can weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds. Plains Indians originally hunted the American buffalo for literally every part of their body and captured them by either driving them into a corral or over a cliff.

Nutritional Benefit: Bison is about the most lean meat you can find. The fat content of bison is lower than skinless chicken breasts, salmon, beef, pork and ostrich. In addition to the fat content being lower, so is its level of cholesterol. Looking to build some muscle? Bison is loaded with protein. In addition it is a great source of both vitamin B12 and iron, which will help our body's build oxygen-carrying red blood cells while also keeping them strong.

Ways to Cook: In my kitchen I try to have bison as often as I can when I'm having some type of meat...and why wouldn't I considering the data you've just read??? Bison is a great substitute for beef and can be used somewhat interchangeably in most recipes. However there are some things you should know first. Cook the meat 'low and slow'. Buffalo has a lower fat content so the meat is much less insulated in it's cooking process and will cook much faster. Try using lower temperatures and be VERY careful not to overcook it. If you plan on using the same cooking temperature and time as you would for beef you will have a tough piece of meat...it might as well be a buffalo chip aka buffalo dung aka buffalo poop aka buffalo droppings. Make sure not to let the meat dry out by letting it sit in the air for too long before cooking as this will also make the cook time faster and give you a less than desirable finished product. I love using ground buffalo for tacos and in tomato sauces. If I'm craving a steak or something of that nature I like to marinate a bison steak in some olive oil, pepper, garlic and rosemary...grill that baby up and you are well on your way to a great meal:)

Click here to watch me cook up a delicious Bison NY Strip Steak on 'Wisconsin Foodie'!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Training in Clearwater

Training and spending time here in Florida with Randy Reese has been wonderful. I got off to a great start doing a lot of pulley-work in the water. Pulleys are when you swim against resistance with a rope attached to your waist. This is very difficult work and puts a lot of strain on your body. Seeing as how I was not used to doing so much training with pulleys I hurt my triceps after a few days. I got really excited and inspired by everything Randy was having us do and I probably went a bit overboard. The past week I've been kicking mostly and rehabbing my triceps. It frustrates me to no end having to deal with injuries. I was raised to be a worker by my family and by the coaches I've trained with. I am a worker. When I am unable to train to the utmost capacity I deem necessary, I become very dissatisfied. The past week has been a bit of a struggle but my triceps are getting much much better now. I'm confident this next week of training is going to be much more satisfying. Check back again during the week for more updates.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Quinoa

Food: Quinoa

History: Quinoa originated from the Andean region of South America. In this area it has been a cultivated and eaten food for 6,000 years. The Incas thought the crop was sacred and referred to it as chisaya mama, aka the mother of all grains. However, Quinoa is actually the seed of the Chenopodium plant.

Nutritional Benefit: This small seed is packed with protein and is great for vegans and vegetarians. Quinoa has high values of dietary fiber which is good for our digestive system and is also high in magnesium and iron. For those of you who have problems with gluten...you're in luck because Quinoa is gluten-free.

Ways to Cook: On the outside of Quinoa is an invisible coating called a sapopin. This coating is bitter in taste and by soaking it in water you will remove it. Most store bought Quinoa will have this coating removed already so all you need to do is rinse the Quinoa in a strainer. A soapy looking residue will come off when rinsed. Just as Quinoa makes a great substitute for rice or couscous, you will cook it much the same way. I use two parts water to one part Quinoa. Add all of it in a pot and bring to a boil. Once you get a boil going, cover the pot and simmer it for about 10-15 minutes so excess water is taken out. You will know the Quinoa is done when it turns a bit of a translucent color and the germ of the seed forms a ring around the outside.

One thing I do to really boost the flavor when cooking it is to cook using a stock such as vegetable or chicken. When cooking is finished you can sprinkle your favorite spices over the top or simply add it to something else on the menu. I love adding Quinoa to salads and bean dishes. My friend Matt Lowe likes mixing Quinoa with salsa, corn, and black beans...give it a try! Below are a couple videos of people cooking with Quinoa.




Monday, January 11, 2010

My Next Read...'Food Rules'


For the past year I've completely dedicated my reading list to food books. Before then I'd read books on food as well but I decided to completely immerse myself in them last year and learn as much as I possibly could. A great writer my Dad turned me on to is Michael Pollan. He's been a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, an executive editor for Harper's Magazine as well as having written books including 'In Defense of Food' and 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'. Pollan has recently released a new book which I plan on putting on my reading list called 'Food Rules: An Eater's Manual'. Check out this New York Times article about him and his new book...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Lentils

I've had a request for Lentils...so here they are.

Food: Lentils
History: Part of the legume family. Humans have been cultivating lentils since ancient times. They originated in central Asia. Ancient Rome used to import entire shiploads of lentils from Egypt. Lentils have been part of staple diets for centuries.
Nutritional Benefit: Great source of vegetable protein. Like many other legumes, lentils are high in dietary fiber and folate, which makes them heart healthy.
Best Ways to Cook: Lentils do not need to be soaked like beans as they will soften in about 30 minutes of boiling water. Adding acidic substances such as lemon juice or tomatoes will greatly increase the cooking time so if the recipe calls for acidic items add them at the end or after the cooking process. If you are boiling the lentils in water you want a three to one ratio of water to lentils.

I'm honestly not a very avid Lentil cooker so I can't specifically tell you any way that I've had unbelievable success in cooking them. Remember that this is an ongoing learning process for me too:) I've included some links to a few lentil recipes that I think look good and plan on trying myself.

Egyptian Lentil Stew
Indian Dhal
Lentil Salad with Tomato and Dill

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

'Stumbled' on the 20 Most Incredible Edibles

If you ever wonder what foods are the down right healthiest to eat then you're in luck. Recently I've been perusing a website called www.stumbleupon.com. I've made my settings so the site pulls up information regarding sports and food...two of my favorite topics. While 'stumbling' this morning I came across a helpful little article.

The 20 Most Incredible Edibles...check it out and you will be well on your way to advancing your healthfood knowledge

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Meaty Monday Madness & TipsyTexan

Meaty Monday Madness surely was a Meaty Monday Madness. Several weeks back I met a guy named Zack who is an owner and chef of a restaurant here in Austin. As I do with most people, we got to talking and soon thereafter the conversation lead to food and cooking. Sometimes I wish there was a secret camera watching me so I could go back and watch how ridiculously excited I get by simply talking to people about food, among other things. Zack had some great stories about his days being a chef and I had a few of my own from stages I had done in New York and Italy (I felt like one of the gang...it was sweeeet). When I was about to leave he pulled out a card from his wallet and invited me to a dinner he has the first Monday of every month called Meaty Monday Madness. Essentially it is a huge meeting of chefs, and their friends, at Zack's house that involves different types of home-smoked meats and tons of chef prepared side dishes. He didn't need to ask me twice...I was going!
On the menu last night was a smoked rib-roast, ham, and turkey. There was fresh black eyed peas, corn pudding, mac & cheese, bread and cheeses, homemade cookies, butternut squash soup etc. Also at the party was a guy I know named David who owns a business here in Austin called TipsyTexan. He bartended the event with a classic holiday drink from the 1800's called a Tom & Jerry as well as other drinks one of which included hand squeezed grapefruit juice from a friend's farm in Louisiana. Zack and David definitely know what they're doing. I had an incredible time and got to meet a bunch of great new people, chefs included (I asked them many food questions haha). Wow was the food and drink tasty too...Yum


Monday, January 4, 2010

Home Cookin' for a Hungry Crowd

Last night I made a huge family dinner for the entire sophomore class of the University of Texas swim team. Imagine having 12 hungry swimmers over to your house for dinner...you're going to need a LOT of food. The menu was four homemade trays of lasagna and six loafs of garlic bread. The lasagna included hot Italian sausage, onion, Riccotta cheese, Mozzerrella cheese, eggplant, roasted peppers and of course tomato sauce...it was a delicious meal. Just a little tid bit, I made all of the noodles in the lasagna myself! BAM:) Oh yeah and the garlic on the bread was freshly roasted and schmeared on by hand when it was still warm and gooey, undoubtedly the best way to do it. Needless to say we had plenty of food and the guys totally loved it. Too bad y'all are not a member of the freshman class because I'm having them over for dinner on Wednesday night.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Food Fact: Sweet Potatoes

In comes the new year and along with it a new addition to the 'Food & Water' blog, the 'Friday Food Fact'. As many of y'all know one of my big goals is to help people live a better life through better nutrition. In order for us to become healthier and eat better we must first know what foods are good for us to eat and how they will help us. I'm always searching for new and interesting information about food and nutrition so if you come across something helpful please post it on the blog so we can all learn together. Remember to check back every Friday for a new 'Friday Food Fact'.

I couldn't think of a food more fitting to start with than a Sweet Potato. I absolutely love these things and eat them like crazy. You might also be interested to know that Usain Bold, the fastest man in the World and Olympic Champion, credits his speed to the Jamaican Sweet Potato...eat up baby!Food: Sweet Potato
History: Researchers have found Sweet Potato relics in Peruvian caves dating back as far as 10,000 years but the Sweet Potato wasn't introduced to Europe until 1492 when Christopher Columbus brought it back from the New World.
Nutritional Benefit: High in vitamin C, vitamin A, and provide powerful antioxidants. Sweet Potatoes contain about twice the dietary fiber of the ordinary Russet potato.
Ways to Cook: I personally love to simply bake them whole in the oven and eat them plain. Dang they are good. The longer they bake the sweeter they seem to become. Steaming is supposed to keep the maximum nutrients in the food while it cooks but I never think it tastes as good that way. Another great preparation is to chop the potato into cubes, place it in the oven with some chopped Rosemary, wait for the pieces to become tender....BAM now that's a good side dish! It's also easy and works great to interchange Sweet Potatoes for regular baking potatoes in many recipes.

I'd love to hear what y'all think of my new addition of the 'Friday Food Fact'. Also please share any recipes or thoughts you may have on each particular Food Fact. Remember, eating healthy is not hard and tastes great...you just have to make the choice to do it.


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