Crunchy, juicy, nutrient packed jicama is an unsung hero of the produce aisle. Technically a cousin to green beans, jicama is a root vegetable from Mexico available year-round that is delicious cooked or raw. With a mild, earthy, slightly sweet flavor and an apple like consistency. It’s a great addition to salads, salsas, slaws, and grazing boards. Jicama also works as lighter swap for potatoes in baked and air fried recipes, and it’s delicious sautéed or boiled, too.
If you’ve never tried jicama, don’t be intimidated. Start by choosing one with a smooth, unblemished surface and thin brown skin. The skin should be thin enough to scrape with your thumbnail to reveal the white flesh inside. Avoid thick skinned, bruised, or shriveled jicama, which are signs of aging.
Once you’re ready to prep, start by trimming off the ends of the jicama and slice in half. Then, use a knife to gently peel away the skin.
For Jicama Sticks:
Step 1: Carefully slice off the rounded parts of the jicama, creating a flat surface.
Step 2: Cut each half into 1/4-inch slices.
Step 3: Stack slices and cut evenly into sticks.
Fresh, raw jicama sticks are a great addition to lunchboxes or served on a vegetable platter with your favorite dip. They can also add unexpected, satisfying crunch to cooked dishes, like a noodle salad with jicama and a miso vinaigrette.
Jicama sticks are delicious roasted, too. Their firm texture can withstand the heat, while the edges get golden brown and tender. Toss together with sweet peppers and spices for a simple, satisfying sheet pan side that pairs well with all kinds of meat and fish.
For Diced Jicama:
Step 1: Follow the steps above to create jicama sticks
Step 2: Line up sticks or stack into a pile, then evenly cut into cubes.
Diced jicama is a vitamin and fiber-rich way to add bulk to all kinds of green, grain, and protein-based salads. I love the combination of crunchy jicama with creamy avocado served with grilled chicken.
Moist and mild flavored jicama also plays well with fruit, especially melon. A refreshing combination of watermelon, jicama, and fresh mint falls somewhere between salad and salsa, delicious scooped onto tortilla chips or just spooned straight from the bowl.
Next time you’re at your local grocery store or market pick up jicama and experiment with ways to incorporate it into your recipes.
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2021 All Rights Reserved
If you want to lower your risk of heart disease and lose weight, without feeling deprived, the Mediterranean diet just might be the plan for you. The Mediterranean diet is known for being one of the healthiest eating patterns and one of the easiest plans to follow. In fact, research has shown that it can lower bad cholesterol, lower risk for certain types of cancer, and even improve brain health. The Mediterranean diet doesn’t call for eliminating entire food groups, but encourages smart choices from each.
Many of the grains you will find available in the Mediterranean diet, like barley and buckwheat, are whole grains, which have so many health benefits. Whole grains are not only packed with heart-healthy vitamins and antioxidants, they also contain fiber. Fiber is good for digestive health and heart health, as it can help lower LDL cholesterol (the type of cholesterol that causes heart disease). The Mediterranean diet also encourages enjoying whole-grain breads with olive oil instead of butter because of the heart-health benefits.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
The diet places an emphasis on consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, onions, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach are all great examples. Combining vegetables with whole grains, in a pasta salad or couscous for example, is a great way to enjoy both. Fruits such as berries, apples, melons, and figs all make great snack or even dessert options. For breakfast you can easily combine fruits with whole grains for a breakfast muesli or try blueberry pancakes made with buckwheat.
Protein from lean sources such as poultry and seafood are encouraged at least twice a week. However, red meat is supposed to be limited to only a few times per month. Seafood is encouraged because of the heart healthy fats, which are good for brain and heart health. Lean poultry is encouraged because it’s low in saturated fat, but high in protein, which is good for muscle building and satiety. Lemon chicken salad or Tuscan chicken stew would both be great dishes to include on the plan.
Dairy is allowed on the Mediterranean diet, but moderation is key. Instead of fat-free or sugar-free yogurt, switch to plain Greek yogurt, which is lower in sugar, but higher in protein. Low-fat milk and cheeses like feta and brie are also allowed, but moderation is encouraged because of their saturated fat and sodium content. For a simple and healthy weeknight dinner, try combining grilled chicken kabobs with a lemon-dill Greek yogurt dipping sauce.
NUTS & LEGUMES
Nuts, seeds, and legumes are encouraged because they contain heart-healthy fats and fiber. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and sesame seeds can be enjoyed as a snack or sprinkled on vegetables or hot cereals. Legumes, such as split peas and red lentils, are great in soups, stews or on top of salads. Try making hummus at home by using chickpeas, olive oil, and lemon juice, then enjoy it with grilled chicken, sliced bell peppers, and whole-wheat pita bread.
Saturated fats like butter are discouraged on the Mediterranean diet, which instead urges heart-healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Heart-healthy fats can actually help raise HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol that our bodies make in order to fight heart disease. To incorporate them, opt for a baked potato with a drizzle of olive oil, or try adding diced avocado to green salads with grilled chicken. If creamy chicken salad is more your pace, serve it with chopped olives.
Instead of using salt to season your dishes, the use of herbs and spices is highly encouraged on the Mediterranean diet. Garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and basil are all great flavors to add to simply grilled chicken or green salads. Citrus juice from lemons, limes, and oranges can also add flavor that’s perfect for salads and marinades. Try experimenting at home with different seasonings, and find what works for you.
VARIETY & BALANCE
The Mediterranean diet has a lot to offer in terms of variety and health benefits. In additions to focusing on making smart choices, the plan also encourages family meals and making time for physical activity. Lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy are all smart choices that can help you maintain a Mediterranean-style eating pattern. One you and your family can stick to.
“Work With What You Got!”
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved
Have school lunches hit a wall? It’s gets tedious for anyone to eat the same thing every day. It may be time to mix it up to keep your kids interested in eating healthy.
You may want to include dry roasted edamame or chickpeas for a salty, crunchy snack with some protein. Individually packed, pitted olives are also a nice alternative to potato chips.
Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into fun shapes. This also works well for using on fruits and vegetables.
Pack leftovers from dinner the night before to make a great lunch. The bonus is that it’s super easy.
When you’re at the grocery store make sure to pick up some precut fruits and vegetables. This is a big timesaver.
Pack lunch in a bento box to make lunches look exciting and practice portion control.
Get them involved in shopping for and packing their own lunch.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved
Baby zucchini are very tender, tasty simple vegetables that have more flavor than the larger Italian zucchini as well as being very easy to prepare and enjoy. Archeologists think that they are indigenous to Central America. They are very nutritious and are a good source of Vitamin A, C B6, thiamin, niacin, and Pantothenic acid. Baby zucchini are also a very good source of fiber, protein, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.
Quick Roast: Cut lengthwise and roast with sliced onions for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Blanching: Drop zucchini into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove to an ice bath. Zucchini are now ready to cut lengthwise and add to salads, sauté with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.
Grilling: Brush zucchini with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs or spices, and either grill on BBQ or grill in a grill pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Microwave: Place zucchini in ziplock bag. Cut corner of bag and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes.
For Salads: Baby zucchini makes a great salad addition. Shred or grate raw and add to salads, or cut lengthwise and add to vegetable platters.
Raw: To eat raw make sure to wash before eating.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Ways To Resist Overeating During The Holidays
Tiny New York Kitchen’s new motto is that December is the new January! With countless cocktail parties, cookie exchanges, and holiday meals this time of year, even the most responsible eaters can be tempted to go all out. Here are a few tips that can prevent total diet derailment, and still enjoy yourself, during the holiday season.
Fill your fridge with healthy, protein-rich snacks that will fill you up and keep you full so that you are less likely to indulge during holiday festivities.
Decide which temptations you would like to resist and to what degree. Remember moderation is key!
Indulge wisely. Allow yourself to enjoy those must-have treats that you look forward to all year long. Whether it’s eggnog, mashed potatoes, pecan pie, or red velvet cake – keep in mind that there is no need for an all-out binge-fest. Enjoy a reasonable yet rewarding amount of holiday foods that you absolutely love. Remember that no single meal will wreck your waistline.
Pay attention to how much water you are drinking. Try and consume 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
Hit the gym. This way if you do indulge a bit at least it can be somewhat “guilt-free.”
Eat breakfast! When you skip breakfast you set yourself up to eat more at the next meal. Whatever you do, eat breakfast!
To recover the day after “food hangover” feeling that follows a rich meal, eat a normal breakfast with protein, such as yogurt or eggs, the next morning. The rest of the day, avoid refined carbs, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water to flush out the sodium. Also, fill up on “clean” foods such as fruits, vegetables, and protein.
Freeze those leftovers. Have leftover pecan pie? Freeze it! Storing tempting foods in the freezer to keep them out of sight means you’re much less likely to eat them since you’d have to defrost them first.
Be a smart snacker! Before you head out to those holiday parties, have a nibble of something so you don’t risk becoming starved. A handful of nuts, a mozzarella stick, Greek yogurt, or protein bar will work wonders.
Double up on those drinks! When you arrive at a party, start with a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst. Then have a glass of wine, champagne, or cocktail, but always alternate with zero-calorie liquids such as water or club soda. You’ll feel much better at the end of the night, and certainly the next day.
It’s ok to tell lies, but do it politely, of course. It’s hard to say “no” to your boss or your nana when they offer you a treat. Tell them thank you and take it. Tell them how delicious it looks, but that you’ve just eaten and are going to save it for later. Wrap it up and take it with you. If it ends up in the trash or given to someone else then that’s A-Okay!
If you’re going to a holiday party, offer to bring a healthy dish that you love. Bringing something healthy that you love will guarantee that there is something healthy that you can fill your plate with. It will also give you a chance to show your friends, family or coworkers that healthy food can taste great.
Get Up, Stand Up! When you’re at a party or buffet, get one plate, and then step away from the food table, but stay on your feet! Standing up helps with digestion and makes it more difficult to keep piling food on your plate, and burn calories.
Get thyself distracted! After a holiday meal, get your mind off food by offering to help clear the table or do the dishes. Chew a piece of gum or pop a breath mint. Its kind of like brushing your teeth so that you won’t be tempted to ruin your fresh breath for another piece of pecan pie.
Cut those serving portions down. There is no need to ruin a family recipe by reducing sugar or cutting out fatty ingredients. Instead make the real version of your great-grandmother’s famous date-nut cake, but cut it into 18 small slices rather than 10 giant pieces.
If you do overeat don’t beat yourself up, acknowledge it and then let it go. If you do go a little crazy at a party, it’s really not helpful to beat yourself up about it. Each day and each party is like a “reset,” it’s a chance to try again.
"Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Some foods need moist, long cooking to tenderize them while others just require a quick sauté in a skillet. Sauté means “jump” in French which describes the tossing and turning in the skillet during the cooking process. There are a few basic secrets to perfect sautéing that will help you get better cooking results.
The trick to successful sautéing is to use a medium-high heat and a small amount of oil. As a matter of fact meats and other protein-based foods should not be turned too often because extended contact with the hot skillet will brown the surface of the food which will deliver extra flavor. Heat the skillet over a medium-high heat and if the pan is too hot you will burn the outside of the food before the inside is cooked so turn down the heat a bit.
Do not use butter for sautéing. Use oil. Butter contains milk solids that burn and smoke at high temperatures. Some cookbooks call for mixing butter and oil which supposedly increases the smoke point of the butter. This does not remove the milk solids that are the problem. You can, however, use clarified butter, but it is easier to use oil for cooking meats. If you want a butter flavor then use it in a pan sauce.
Thick cuts of meat can be difficult to cook through when sautéing. You may want to use a double-cooking method for thick cuts. Double-cut pork and lamb chops, porterhouse steaks, and large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves are too thick to cook through in a skillet on the stove top. It is best to brown them in the skillet, and then finish cooking them in a 400° F oven. Be sure that your skillet is ovenproof.
Make a pan sauce to take advantage of the browned bits in the pan which are loaded with delicious flavor. Remove the meat from the skillet and tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep the meat warm. Pour off the fat from the skillet and return the skillet to the medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of minced shallots and a tablespoon of butter. Do not add the butter alone as the skillet may be too hot and the butter will burn. The shallots will act as insulation. Cook for a minute or so to soften the shallots and then add about 1 cup of an appropriate stock. Wine may seem like a good choice, but it can be too strong. Boil the stock, scraping up the bits in the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1to 2 tablespoons of cold butter (a tablespoon at a time) to thicken the sauce lightly.