My Recipe

Butternut Squash with Ground Chicken and Black Bean Sauce


8 oz lean ground chicken
20 oz butternut squash (peeled and seeded from a 2 lb squash)
1½ oz (1/3 cup) frozen green peas
1 Tbsp salted black bean (rinsed and mashed)
2 tsp garlic (minced)
2 tsp ginger (minced)

Chicken Marinade:

1½ tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp water
dash white ground pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp oil


1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3/4 tsp chicken broth mix
1 cup water

Thickening Solution:

1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water


  1. Add marinade to chicken. Set aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Cut butternut squash into big chunks.
  3. Thaw frozen peas at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  4. Mix seasoning ingredients and thickening solution in separate bowls.
  5. Heat wok and add 1 Tbsp oil. Stir-fry half of the marinated chicken until no longer pink. Remove. Add another 1 Tbsp oil to wok. Stir-fry remaining chicken until no longer pink. Return previously cooked chicken to wok. Add 1 tsp wine. Toss for 10 seconds. Remove.
  6. Rinse, dry, reheat wok and add 1 Tbsp oil. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add salted black bean and squash, toss for 10 seconds. Add seasoning ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until squash is almost tender and seasoning is reduced. Add peas, cook for another 3 minutes. Return chicken to wok. Toss to combine. Add thickening solution. Keep tossing until the mixture is bubbly hot. Remove and serve.

Nutrition value for 1/6 portion of recipe:

Calorie 195, Fat 12.2 g, Carbohydrate 15 g, Fibre 3 g, Sugar 3 g, Cholesterol 33 mg, Sodium 584 mg, Protein 9 g.

High Tea, Afternoon Tea and Elevenses

Nadia Whitehead wrote . . . . .

You’re an American in London. You’ve visited Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London, but there’s one more thing you want to check off your to-do list: tea.

No, not just any tea. We’re talking a good, old-fashioned English tea time, with finger sandwiches, dainty china cups and all the formality a Downton Abbey lover could wish for.

But wait, you know nothing about taking tea in Britain. Should you raise your pinky while sipping? And, more importantly, what time do the Brits take tea, anyway? Not to worry. The Salt is here to explain British social tea times.

First up is elevenses, which you might have heard of as a hobbit’s third meal of the day. Outside of Middle Earth, this late-morning work break involves a light snack — think muffins, scones or biscuits — and a hot tea or coffee. It occurs, as the name implies, at 11 in the morning.

The tradition of elevenses actually isn’t that old, says Bruce Richardson, a historian who specializes in British tea. He speculates that the custom popped up in the 20th century, because there’s no reference to the term in 1800s literature. Even so, elevenses is strongly engrained in today’s British culture — a 2009 article in The Telegraph called it a “vital element of our traditional way of life.”

The British habit of adding tea to sugar wasn’t merely a matter of taste: It also helped steer the course of history.

“People always want to know about that genesis moment: when God said, ‘Let there be tea,’ ” Richardson says. “But the truth is that things came about slowly over time in Britain.”

As we’ve reported, Portugal’s Catherine of Braganza is credited with introducing tea to England after marrying King Charles II in 1662. That got people curious about this new brew, but it wasn’t until the 1800s, when tea prices dropped dramatically and it became affordable for everyone, that the culture of tea really took root.

Afternoon tea — the kind of fancy-schmancy affair where we might spot Lady Mary of Downton Abbey — emerged as a social event sometime around the 1830s or 1840s, Richardson writes in A Social History of Tea. And Anna Maria Russell, duchess of Bedford, led the pack.

Back then, lunch for the upper crust was generally a light repast served at noon, and dinner occurred no earlier than 7:30 p.m. As legend has it, during one long, food-less afternoon, the duchess felt hunger pangs and ordered tea and snacks to her bedroom chamber. The refreshments did the trick, and Russell soon made this tea break a habit.

The duchess’ well-heeled friends began joining her in this post-lunch tea ritual, the story goes, and the practice spread in aristocratic circles. Though some historical references call this ritual “low tea” — because the ladies would sit in low armchairs while sipping — afternoon tea was hardly a humble affair then. Nor is it today.

Here’s where you’ll find those crustless finger sandwiches and an array of dainty scones, cakes, macaroons and other tempting nibbles. Afternoon tea is generally served around 3 or 4 p.m. these days. Richardson says it’s a time to mind your manners. Place your napkin on your lap and stir gently. Splashing tea, clinking cups and spoons and finger licking will make you appear beastly.

And definitely don’t devour everything in front of you. Richardson recalls advice that international etiquette expert (and Liv Tyler’s grandmother) Dorothea Johnson once gave him: You don’t actually want to appear hungry at this meal — propriety calls for restraint.

If you think that’s rough, tea etiquette was stricter back in the day.

“Women could tell a lot about a man by how he handled a tea cup back then,” Richardson says. In the 1800s, he says, “a suitable mate could be easily dropped if you saw him mishandling how he put his spoon on his saucer after he stirred his cup.”

Fortunately, the pressure is off when it comes to high tea.

Despite its name, high tea actually originated with the lower classes. Dinner was served midday in the 1800s, but in practice, working stiffs didn’t have the luxury of an afternoon lunch break, so they took tea right after work with heartier fare — like pies, meats and cheeses — to sate their hunger.

Richardson says the name high tea probably evolved from the fact that this evening meal was served at proper dinner tables, rather than on couches or settees. Using the term “high tea” when you really mean “afternoon tea” is a dead giveaway you’re American.

“The Ritz-Carlton staff in London always can tell it’s an American when they call for high tea at 2 in the afternoon,” Richardson says.

But no matter what you request, Richardson stresses, “Keep those pinkies down!”

“Americans in the Ritz’s tea room stand out because they work so hard to keep their pinkies extended while holding their teacup,” he says while laughing. “It makes you look pretentious.”

Despite all these rules, don’t get too hung up on proper behavior and not making a fool of yourself. British tea time is meant to be relaxing.

Richardson explains, “If you pay attention to your manners, put the napkin in your lap and keep your feet off the table, you’ll probably be OK.”

Source: npr

Some Low-fat Options Can Actually Expand Your Waistline

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . .

If you order your salad with fat-free dressing (just starch, sugar and salt), pass on nuts in favour of pretzels (white flour, salt and corn syrup) or read nutrition labels to choose foods low in total fat, it may be time to shift your nutrient focus. Your low-fat food decisions, based on a decades-long dietary warning to eat less fat, could be harming your health – and robbing your diet of disease-fighting nutrients.

In the 1961 version of the food guide, food choices broadened and language softened. “Guide” replaced “Rules” in the title.

the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted its 571-page report to the U.S. government outlining its recommended revisions to current dietary guidelines. The panel’s report will be the basis for the 2015 version of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, slated for release later this year.

While a recommendation to withdraw long-standing warnings about cholesterol-laden food made headlines, another game-changing dietary recommendation slipped under the radar. According to a Viewpoint article published in the June 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the “less noticed, but more important change [of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report] was the absence of an upper limit for total fat consumption.” This could broadly change the way we eat and, in my opinion, for the better. Our appetite for (highly processed) low-fat foods appears to have worsened our cardiovascular health and widened our waistlines.

For decades, dietary guidelines both here and in the U.S. have recommended that we keep our total fat intake low. In last week’s JAMA commentary, the authors stated “the limit on total fat presents an obstacle to sensible change, promoting harmful low-fat foods, undermining attempts to limit intakes of refined starch and added sugar, and discouraging the restaurant and food industry from providing products higher in healthful fats.”

The current advice to limit total fat intake to 35 per cent of daily calories – a recommendation based on evidence now 15 years old – was not included in the report. The panel did state, however, that reducing total fat does not lower cardiovascular disease risk. And when it comes to obesity prevention, the committee recommended adopting a healthy dietary pattern that includes more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, beans and seafood rather than focusing on limiting total fat, a strategy that hasn’t worked.

Dietary guidelines, the panel’s report concluded, should not emphasize reducing total fat but should instead advise eating healthful types of fat – such as those found in nuts and seeds, vegetable oils and oily fish – while limiting saturated fats and avoiding processed foods high in artificial trans fats, two types of fat that raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and (in the case of trans fat) lower HDL (good) cholesterol in the bloodstream. It’s about balancing your fat intake, rather than cutting all types of fat.

According to the JAMA commentary entitled The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines: Lifting the Ban on Total Dietary Fat, “with these quiet statements, the [Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee] report reversed nearly four decades of nutrition policy that placed priority on reducing total fat consumption.”

Since the release of the first Dietary Guidelines in 1980, Americans have been advised to cut dietary fat in an effort to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and curb obesity. In its 1982 revision, Canada’s Food Guide encouraged Canadians to also moderate total fat intake (as well as sugar, salt and alcohol).

The main objective of reducing total fat was to limit saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, thought to increase heart disease and stroke risk. However, the message became oversimplified to include all types of fat.

Newer evidence, however, does not support limiting total fat. In 2006, the Women’s Health Initiative – a randomized controlled trial that enrolled 48,835 women ages 50 to 79 – found that eating a diet low in total fat had no effect on the risk of heart disease, stroke or colorectal cancer. (The findings did suggest a small effect on risk of breast cancer.)

Studies also suggest that eating a diet that exceeds the current daily fat limit reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. A trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 reported that following a Mediterranean diet supplemented with healthful fats from extra-virgin olive oil or nuts – both diets containing more than 40 per cent of daily calories from total fat – lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, weight gain and dying from cardiovascular disease.

Whether the absence of a total fat limit in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report will makes its way into the finalized Dietary Guidelines will not be known until later this year. Yet many nutrition experts, including me, hope they do.

According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston and co-author of last week’s JAMA Viewpoint, “Fear of fat is embedded in North American consciousness, which is why we need to call on policy-makers to embrace modern evidence to lift the [total fat] limit. The U.S. and Canadian governments must together call for action on this topic.”

* * * * * * * *

A guide to healthy unsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats

Eating polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or refined carbohydrates reduces LDL cholesterol. This type of fat also lowers elevated blood triglycerides. Good sources include:

  • safflower oil
  • sunflower oil
  • corn oil
  • fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • walnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • tofu

Mono-unsaturated fats

Foods rich in mono-unsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol and may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control. Good sources include:

  • olive oil
  • peanut oil
  • canola oil
  • avocado
  • hazelnuts
  • pecans
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • macadamia nuts
  • tahini (sesame seed butter)

Source: The Globe and Mail

Spinach, Lentil and Feta Salad


1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1-1/3 cups dried red lentils
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1¾ cups vegetable broth
sea salt and cracked black pepper
80 g baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
125 g fetta cheese, sliced


  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes or until golden. Add lentils, cumin and broth. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until tender and stock is absorbed. Stir through salt and pepper. Cool.
  2. Toss the spinach leaves with oil and lemon juice. Stir tomatoes and parsley through lentil mixture.
  3. To serve, divide spinach between plates, top with lentil mixture and sliced fetta.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Australian Women’s Weekly

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