What Three Foods Should You Not to Eat on a Date?

Here at The Magic Fridge, we’ve spent a lot of time telling you what foods you should be eating; smart choices, healthy alternatives and creative combinations. Now it’s time to focus on a few foods you might want to stay away from, especially when trying to make a first impression!

Leafy Greens
Avoid embarrassment when flashing your pearly whites and stay away from the often sticky, leafy greens such as spinach, seaweed and mint. Sure spinach loaded with calcium, vitamin K and iron and nothing freshens your breath better than mint but, let’s face it, who wants to give you a good night kiss with a bunch of mint stuck on your teeth?

Shellfish
Shrimp, crab and lobster are as tasty as they are difficult to eat. It’s not very classy to be shucking sharp bits of shell all over your date. Cracking, ripping and tearing open your crab like Daryl Hannah in Splash may not be the visual you were hoping for at the end of your first (and possibly only) date.

Cheese
Cut the cheese – out of your first date diet. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.
Cheese is fatty and heavy, and the dairy won’t help in the fresh breath department either. If it’s too late try a piece of fresh fruit to push that unpleasant smell away!

Most of these rules fly totally out the window once you’re in a committed relationship. Hey, who can go without lobster forever right? This post was admittedly written tongue in cheek, but if first impressions are important to you, keep these tips in mind…. or better yet invite your date over for dinner. A healthy home-cooked meal from the Magic Fridge will make a great first impression. Shhh… it’ll be our little secret!

Book a consultation by March 15th and receive $100 off your first service.

The Choice is yours, literally.

What should I have for breakfast? I could grab a muffin at Time Horton’s or maybe I’ll just have a bowl cereal. I wonder if I should I eat my lunch now or should I wait until after my 1:00 meeting? What are we going to have for dinner? How are aware are we of the food-related decisions we make every single day and how does our environment influence those decisions?

A recent study conducted at Cornell University showed that the average person estimates they make 15 food-related decisions everyday when in fact, the actual number of food-related decisions is over 200. Based on the results it’s fair to we often engage in Mindless Eating!

The study, conducted by Brian Wansink is a reminder not to eat on autopilot and to treat every one of these choices as a new chance to eat better. “It’s really easier than we think to let small things around us — plate size, package size, people around us, distractions — influence these 200-plus decisions because we are not aware of them in the first place,” said Wansink.

Tips to prevent overeating

Here are a few steps to turn things around after a holiday season filled with mindless eating.

Use smaller bowls
People who served themselves foods into smaller serving bowls ate almost 60 percent less than when they are served helpings in larger bowls. I used to think this was the dumbest tip, but I kept seeing it in weight loss advice…. so I tried it! It really works. So does this next one.

See it before you eat it
Avoid eating directly from the package. People served a snack mix in a bowl ate 134 fewer calories than those eating straight from the bag.

Bank your calories
Skip the appetizers if you know you want to save room — and enjoy — the upcoming dessert. You’ll also be more accurate at estimating the number of calories you consumed.

Embrace your comfort food
Don’t eat around the food you really want. Just eat it in a small portion.

I don’t know about fewer decisions, but here’s a better one. Give The Magic Fridge a try and see just how tasty and easy healthy eating can be. To book a consultation contact Julie@TheMagicFridge.com.

Bottoms up!

Surely we’ve all heard that Red wine is served with red meats, lambs and casseroles. Pour the Merlot with roast beef, barbecue chicken, tuna and soups and Pinot Noir with pasta but it’s Saturday night and you want a cold beer? Nothing against fine wine but, as Canadians sometimes you just want a beer.

Despite what you’ve heard there are no steadfast rules to pairing wine (or in this case beer) with food, merely guidelines. After all, food and drink should be fun – no rules allowed! Therefore consider this a guideline for pairing your next Saturday night get together.

Indian Pale Ales
India Pale Ale, abbreviated IPA, is a type of ale that is light amber to copper in colour, medium to medium-high alcohol by volume, with hoppy, bitter and sometimes malty flavour.

Like it spicy? Try an IPA with pulled pork, pizza or spicy chicken wings; the hops in the IPA will really bring out the heat

Wheat Beer
Wheat beer is a beer that is brewed with a large proportion of wheat. Wheat beers often also contain a significant proportion of malted barley. Wheat beers are usually top-fermented (as required by law in Germany).

Wheat beers are extremely food-friendly. Next time, pour one with a serving of fresh Crab especially seasoned with chilli and lime. The added wheat will bring out a all sorts of new flavors.

Porters or Stouts
Porter is a dark-coloured style of beer. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name was first used in the 18th century from its popularity with the street and river porters of London.

This rich style beer, with tons of nutty and toffee aromas goes great with smoked meats, chocolate and even coffee (or coffee flavored deserts). Surprise your guests at your next dinner party with a tall Samuel Adams Honey Porter and Coffee Cake!

Next time out leave the cork screw in the cupboard and grab the bottle opener and remember have fun with it.

Let’s make a meal – plan!

The one item in your budget that you probably have the most control over is your grocery bill. Too many people spend way too much on groceries… period.

If saving money is a priority for your family then your groceries should be a top priority! Believe it or not, The Magic Fridge offers several options that will save you both time and money.

Less Stress
It’s 6 o’clock, your family is hungry, tired, complaining and you have no idea what’s for dinner. Trying to come up with something to cook at the last minute a whole lot of fun. Dinner will be much more relaxed when you don’t have to stress about it.

Quality Time
Dinner time use to be the time for families to gather and share news and experiences of the day. Parents and children can pay some needed undivided attention to each other. Make dinner a daily family tradition, again.

Eat Healthier
Cut down on the fast food and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Home-cooked meals tend to be much healthier than hamburgers with fries, fried chicken or pizza. When you plan your meals, you tend to include healthier alternative such as chicken breast, salads and vegetables.

Tasty Technology

There are hundreds of food applications available for the iphone. Everything from where to eat, what to eat and even what not to eat! Here are 3 of the most popular apps around. The only thing these apps can’t do is cook for you. Although it’s probably on the way!

Urbanspoon
We understand you probably won’t eat in every night but when you do decide to eat out, why not try try something new. Urbanspoon uses three factors to classify restaurants: neighborhood, type of cuisine and price. Simply shake your iPhone, and the app spins eventually bringing you to a page with a restaurant’s phone number, address and user reviews. Don’t like the results? Just give the phone another shake. Picky eaters can choose to lock a column in place if you like, limiting choices to a specific neighborhood, type of cuisine or price point. The random element adds in a bit of fun and can inspire you to try a place you’ve never visited before.

Epicurious
Epicurious gives users access to thousands of recipes found on Epicurious.com. The app divides recipes into categories like healthy lunches or decadent desserts. Select the category you want, browse the contents and choose your dish. Each recipe has clear instructions on how to go from raw ingredients to a culinary masterpiece.

Lose It!
Succeed at weight loss with Lose It! Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that enables you to meet them. Stay on track each day by recording your food and exercise and staying within your budget. Enter food and exercise easily using a searchable database. Quickly re-enter foods and meals you’ve had in the past.

Lose It! is the most complete and streamlined weight loss application for the iPhone.

Do you have an iPhone app you think we should know about?

Help End Breast Cancer while you eat!

On Sunday October 3rd, 2010 thousands of united hearts will walk side by side, connected by the common goal of ending breast cancer and improving those affected by the disease worldwide.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and although its causes are still unknown
the National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related.
Emerging new research clearly shows us that food and lifestyle choices can make an incredible difference in lowering a person’s risk of breast cancer. This means that now, perhaps more than ever, we can each choose to proactively fight now against breast cancer.

Here are three must-have anti cancer recipes that just happen to be tasty as well.

Broiled Salmon with Balsamic Raisin Syrup and Sauteed Garlic Greens
Inspired by a recipe from The Fitness Kitchen cookbook by Shelly Sinton, the balsamic syrup succulently enhances the presentation as well as the flavor of this omega-3 rich dish. The sautéed greens add color, hearty flavor and a delicious dose of antioxidants and other cancer-combatting phytonutrients.

View recipe

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew
The sweet potatoes are rich in cancer-fighting beta-carotene and other phytonutrients and lentils are packed with fiber. Colorful and delicious, this meal also makes an excellent lunch.

View recipe

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Orange Yogurt Sauce
Low in calories and high in fiber, pumpkin turns ordinary pancakes into an extraordinary healthy breakfast! These pancakes will give you a satisfying morning meal all while fighting cancer!

View recipe

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

All women are at risk for breast cancer. 70% of women have no known risk factors.

Diet is crucial in protecting you against breast cancer.

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew

3 cups pieces (1 inch) peeled dark-orange sweet potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups ready-to-eat baby-cut carrots
3/4 cup dried lentils, sorted, rinsed
2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth or 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1 1/2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt

Directions

  1. In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix sweet potatoes, onion, carrots and lentils.
  2. In 8-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, gingerroot and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth. Pour mixture into slow cooker; stir.
  3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.
  4. Increase heat setting to High. Stir in green beans. Cover; cook about 15 minutes longer or until green beans are crisp-tender. Serve topped with yogurt.

Broiled Salmon with Balsamic Raisin Syrup and Sauteed Garlic Greens

In the past 50 years, the lifetime risk of breast cancer has nearly tripled in the US from 1 in 22 in the 1940s to 1 in 8 today.

Diet is crucial in protecting you against breast cancer.

Broiled Salmon with Balsamic Raisin Syrup and Sauteed Garlic Greens

For the salmon:
4 (4-ounces each) boneless skinless salmon fillets
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

For the syrup:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 heaping tablespoons raisins

For the greens:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 cups chopped leafy greens, such as chard, kale or spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Turn broiler on high. Squeeze lemon juice on salmon and season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon on a broiler pan and broil for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Salmon is done when it easily flakes when pressed with the back of a fork. Tent salmon with foil to keep warm if it gets done before the syrup and greens.
  2. Meanwhile, puree vinegar and raisins in a food processor or blender. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half and mixture has thickened.
  3. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add leafy greens and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until leaves are tender and wilted. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if stockpot dries out.
  4. To serve, evenly divide greens among four serving plates. Place salmon on the plate and drizzle with the balsamic raisin syrup.

Recipe courtesy of sheknows.com

Magic Fridge vs. MacDonald’s

Sure, at an average price of just over $5.00 a meal (at McDonald’s) eating out seems like an easy alternative but what’s the real price in the long run?

In this edition, The Magic Fridge takes on McDonald’s. So, how will Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets, Orange Sweet Potatoes and Strawberry Spritzer Punch stack up against a McDonald’s so-called healthier alternative?

Ready for the results? Here we go…

The Calorie Count

Overall in a Medium McDonalds McNugget meal there are 890 Calories, 39 Grams of Fat and 106 Grams of Carbs versus 480 Calories, 5 Grams of Fat and 76 Grams of Carbs. WOW, that’s a small change that can go a long way.

Hey McDonald’s, we’re not loving it!

My mom and dad came to visit for a few days…

My mom and dad came to visit for a few days… cooking for people you don’t usually cook for can be a challenge.  For example, my dad is lactose-intolerant and my mom doesn’t eat spicy food and has some issues with her teeth and jaws so her food can’t be too big, too chewy or too crunchy.  Here’s a menu that worked for both of them, used seasonal and simple foods, and was enjoyed by everyone!  I twittered about it last week, and recipes were requested, so here they are!

Crockpot hot chicken sandwiches with onion and roasted garlic gravy (my mom’s favourite)

1-2 onions, sliced
1 head of garlic
1 whole chicken (1.5-1.8kg)
Fresh thyme or sage
Bread to serve

Place the sliced onions in the crockpot.  Cut the top off the head of garlic, wrap the bottom it in foil, pour a little olive oil over top, wrap the foil up over the garlic and twist the top closed.

Place the chicken on the onions, and sprinkle thyme over top.  You don’t have to take the thyme off its stems.  Place the wrapped garlic in the crockpot wherever it will fit.

Do NOT add any liquid.  The onions will brown slightly on the bottom of the crock, then the chicken juices will drip out on top of them, so they won’t burn.

Cook on low for 5-7 hours.

Remove the chicken from the crock – it will fall apart, so tongs work well for this.  Place the chicken in a bowl to cool.  Remove the garlic package and the thyme stems from the crock, too.

Meanwhile, use a potato masher to mash the onions and chicken juices, right in the crockpot.  If you want a really smooth gravy, you can puree it in a smaller pot.

Open the top of the garlic package and squeeze out the cloves into the crock, holding the head using the foil wrapping.

Pour onions, garlic and juices into a smaller pot to make gravy.  Stir about 2 tablespoons of quick-blend flour into ¼ cup water and whisk this mixture into the juices.

Remove meat from chicken bones – it will be really easy, the crockpot makes the chicken sooo tender!

Place slices of bread on a plate, top with chicken and gravy.  Serve with peas or any other seasonal vegetable (I used green and yellow beans from Rosie’s roadside vegetable stand on Renaud Road)

Peach Rhubarb Crisp (Dad’s favourite)

2 cups chopped rhubarb
3 large peaches, peeled and chopped
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour

Put all in a large bowl and stir to combine; pour into baking pan (7×11 or 8×8 inch, or whatever pan works to be filled 2/3 of the way up)

Topping:

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup melted butter or margarine

Combine flour and sugar and mix well (I use my hands for this).  Add oats and combine, then pour butter in and stir with spoon or hands until butter is evenly mixed in.

Pour topping over fruit and spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until topping is browned and fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (I top Dad’s with soy or rice “ice cream” or maple syrup)