My Recipe

Stir-fried Chicken with Mushroom on Spinach

Ingredients:

12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
8 oz fresh button mushroom
2 (about 1½ lb) bunch spinach
1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp ginger (minced)

Chicken Marinade:

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

Sauce:

1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp white ground pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chicken broth mix
1 Tbsp cornstarch
6 oz water

Method:

  1. Cut chicken into thin strips. Add marinade and set aside for about 15 minutes.
  2. Clean mushroom with damp paper towel and cut into thin slices.
  3. Wash and rinse spinach thoroughly. Drain. Separate leaves from stems. Cut into shorter sections.
  4. Mix sauce ingredients.
  5. Blanch mushroom in 8 cups boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and drain. Reboil water. Blanch spinach in 2 batches until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove and drain thoroughly.
  6. Pour away water in wok. Rinse, dry and reheat wok. Add 1½ Tbsp oil. Stir-fry spinach for about 1 minute. Remove onto serving platter.
  7. Dry, reheat wok and add 1½ Tbsp oil. Sauté half of the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add half of the marinated chicken, stir-fry until almost done. Add another 1½ Tbsp oil to wok. Sauté remaining garlic and ginger until fragrant. Stir-fry remaining chicken until almost done. Return previously cooked chicken to wok. Add mushroom and 2 tsp wine. Toss for 30 seconds. Add sauce ingredients. Keep tossing until sauce reboils and thickens. Pour over spinach in serving platter. Serve hot.

Nutrition value for 1/6 portion of recipe:

Calorie 226, Fat 14.6 g, Carbohydrate 9 g, Fibre 3 g, Sugar 1 g, Cholesterol 36 mg, Sodium 502 mg, Protein 17 g.


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Healthy Diet May Help Shield the Aging Brain

Older adults who ate better maintained problem-solving and planning skills, study finds.

Eating a healthier diet might reduce the risk of problems with certain brain functions as you age, findings from a recent study suggest.

Older adults with healthier diets reduced their odds of impaired “executive function” by 35 percent. Executive function refers to a collection of things done by the brain, including memory, reasoning, multi-tasking, problem-solving and planning skills.

“Healthy diet might affect cognition [thinking skills] through several mechanisms,” said study co-author Carol Derby, associate professor of neurology and of epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

“Healthy diet is associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, with more healthy weight and with reduced risk of diabetes, all of which are risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia,” she explained.

However, this study wasn’t designed to show that eating more healthfully actually caused the better brain function, or that a good diet could prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. The study was only designed to find an association between a healthy diet and better brain function.

Researchers presented the findings this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C. Findings presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

For the study, researchers asked nearly 550 seniors about their diets. Their average age was 80 years old. None of them showed signs of dementia.

The study volunteers were asked to recall how many servings they eat weekly of grains, fried foods, snacks, sweets, soft drinks, fats, alcohol, fruits and vegetables, and specific dairy and meat products.

Each participant also took several tests to determine memory and thinking skills, along with executive function. Participants were considered to have impaired function if they scored substantially lower than average on a particular collection of skills.

After taking into consideration participants’ age, education, sex, race and heart conditions, the researchers determined that those with a healthier diet had 35 percent lower odds of impaired executive function. No links between diet and overall memory or thinking were found, the researchers said.

When the investigators looked at differences between black and white participants, they found no link between diet and any brain health test in blacks. The lack of a difference may be because black individuals tend to have a greater risk of vascular conditions, the researchers said.

Among whites, healthier scores on total fat intake were linked to 52 percent lower odds of poor executive function. Healthier scores for saturated fat intake were linked to 66 percent lower odds of poor executive function, the study found.

“We know that a diet that is too caloric or too loaded with sugars can lead to insulin resistance and vascular disease that, in turn, are not good for the brain,” said Dr. Marie Csete, president and chief scientist of Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena, Calif.

“We know that mood is affected by the content of food, and that mood affects sleep patterns, and sleep is an important factor in maintaining brain health,” added Csete, who was not involved with the study.

Still, there are other explanations for the findings than a healthier diet causing better brain health, Csete suggested, such as overall healthier lifestyles among those who also eat healthier diets.

“You might think that people who are interested in preparing healthy foods for themselves would also be interested in having more physical activity, in not smoking and in controlling their cholesterol levels,” Csete said. “Exercise is a very positive modifiable factor to help stave off loss of cognitive function.”

It’s also not clear what specifically makes up a healthy diet, though there are some general guidelines that make sense, said Dr. Luca Giliberto, an investigator physician at the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y.

“One would assume that a diet rich in natural vitamins, low in saturated fats and rich in omega-3 fats, low in refined sugars and rich in high-quality proteins would do the trick,” Giliberto said. “In reality, it is probably the balance of all these aspects and the attached quality of life, physical and mental activity, and personal satisfaction that complete the recipe for good cognition.”

Meanwhile, an excess of refined sugars, saturated fats and too few natural vitamins and good proteins increases the risk of atherosclerosis and oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to mental decline, Giliberto explained.

“It is never too late to start prevention, especially when it comes to food and physical activity,” Giliberto said. “The two often go hand in hand.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Vietnamese-French Duck Soup

Ingredients

1 duck carcass (raw or cooked), plus 2 legs or any giblets, trimmed of as much fat as possible
1 large onion, unpeeled, with root end trimmed
2 carrots, cut into 5 cm pieces
1 parsnip, cut into 5 cm pieces
1 leek, cut into 5 cm pieces
2 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp black peppercorns
4 to 6 thyme sprigs, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 small bunch coriander (6-8 sprigs), leaves and stems separated

Garnish

1 small carrot
1 small leek, halved lengthwise
4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
watercress
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the duck carcass, the legs or giblets, the onion, carrots, parsnip, leek and garlic in a large heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the ginger, peppercorns, thyme and coriander stems, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1½ to 2 hours, then strain through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl, discarding the bones and vegetables. Cool the stock and chill for several hours or overnight. Skim off any congealed fat and blot the surface with kitchen paper to remove any traces of fat.
  3. To make the garnish, cut the carrot and leek into 5 cm pieces. Cut each piece lengthwise in thin slices, then stack and slice into thin julienne strips. Place in a large saucepan with the mushrooms.
  4. Pour over the stock and add a few dashes of soy sauce and some pepper. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Adjust the seasoning. Stir in the spring onions and watercress. Ladle the consommé into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the coriander leaves.

Makes 4 servings

Source: French Classic Cuisine Made Easy


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