Nutrition and Lifestyle

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Weight Watchers Diet

Published May 3, 2017 by teacher dahl

Weight watchers main frame

Overview
The aim: Losing weight while living healthier.
The claim: You’ll drop up to 2 pounds weekly.

The theory: There’s more to weight loss than counting calories – if you make healthier choices and behavior changes, you’ll feel better while losing weight. The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program, launched in late 2015, is designed to help people eat better, move more and shift their mindset. The program assigns every food and beverage a Smart Points value, based on its nutrition (higher amounts of saturated fat and sugar increase the point value; higher amounts of protein bring the point value down).

Choices that fill you up the longest “cost” the least, and nutritionally dense foods cost less than empty calories. So if you’re wavering between a cup of lobster bisque soup or a chicken salad sandwich – both 380 calories – the sandwich is the smarter choice. A backbone of the plan is multi-model access (via in-person meetings, online chat or phone) to support from people who lost weight using Weight Watchers, kept it off and have been trained in behavioral weight management techniques.

With Beyond the Scale, Weight Watchers members lost 15 percent more weight in their first two months following the new program, the company says, compared with those who followed the previous program.

How does Weight Watchers Diet work?

weight watcher 1
DOS & DON’TS
Do: Load up on fruits and veggies.
In late 2015, Weight Watchers introduced its new Beyond the Scale program, which emphasizes three components: eating healthier; fitness that fits your life; and learning skills and techniques that help you shift your mindset.

The new Smart Points food plan guides members toward an overall eating pattern that is lower in calories, saturated fat and sugar, and higher in protein. However, you can eat whatever you want – provided you stick to your daily Smart Points target, a number based on your gender, weight, height and age. You can find the points values of more than 290,000 foods on the mobile app or desktop food database.

Weght watcher's recipe

Don’ts

Processed choices like bologna usually have higher point values due to calories and saturated fat. Fresh fruits and most vegetables carry zero points, so you can eat as many as you need to feel full. That’s because they tend to be low-calorie and nutrient-dense, so they’re more filling than, say, a candy bar. (Fruit juice, dried fruit and starchy vegetables don’t count as freebies, since they’re more calorie-dense for the same serving size.)

The company offers thousands of recipes, each with a SmartPoints value, to show how it fits into your eating plan. If you’re preparing a dish that’s not listed in the database, you can calculate the points value ingredient by ingredient, using your mobile app or through the company’s website. Vegetarians, gluten-free eaters and people with other dietary preferences can also easily find items and recipes tagged for them.
Fit Points, a new metric to help you track activity, was introduced in late 2015. Every member has a personalized Fit Points goal based on an initial assessment, and FitPoints can be earned anytime, anywhere – from cleaning the house to walking the dog. Whether you want to get active and don’t know where to start or are ready to take it to the next level and run a 5K, the program helps members uncover fun and easy ways to move more. Plus, Weight Watchers syncs with popular activity apps and monitors, including FitBit, Apple Health, Jawbone, Withings and Misfit.

The Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program also aims to help those attempting to lose weight while living healthier get in the right frame of mind. The program offers skills and techniques in areas such as mindfulness and self-compassion to help individuals gain greater self-awareness to make different choices and stay motivated to achieve their goals.

Weight Watchers isn’t only about what you eat and making lifestyle changes; support is also a big component. Though you can choose to follow the plan online only, company-funded research found that those who attended Weight Watchers meetings and used the mobile app/online tools lost nearly eight times more than those who tried to lose weight on their own.

What happens during those 30-minute get-togethers?  In a group format facilitated by a Weight Watchers leader who has lost weight on the program and kept it off, members discuss both their scale and non scale victories and problem-solve with others in similar situations. If in-person meetings don’t appeal to you, you can do the program totally online. All who follow Weight Watchers have access to an online feature that allows them to chat with an expert familiar with the program at any time, 24/7. Customized support and action plans are also available through a phone-based personal coaching program.

Vegan Diet

Published April 17, 2017 by teacher dahl

vegan 1

 

Overview

The aim: Depends, but may include weight loss, heart health and diabetes prevention or control.
The claim: Going vegan could help shed pounds and fend off chronic diseases.
The theory: You can cook up a perfectly healthy, meat- and dairy-free menu that supports weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

How does Vegan Diet work?
While vegetarians eliminate meat, fish and poultry, vegans take it a step further,excluding all animal products – even dairy and eggs. (Vegans are often animal rights activists who don’t believe in using animal products for any purpose.)

So say goodbye to refried beans with lard, margarine made with whey and anything with gelatin, which comes from animal bones and hooves, too. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes will be your staples.
Say Goodbye to Animal Products too.

animal products

Exactly how you shape your diet each day is up to you, but you’ll typically aim for six servings of grains, likely from bread and calcium-fortified cereal; five servings of legumes, nuts and other types of protein, such as peanut butter, chickpeas, tofu, potatoes and soy milk; and four daily servings of veggies, two servings of fruit and two servings of healthy fats, such as sesame oil, avocado and coconut, according to an American Dietetic Association guide. There’s also no need to give up dessert: Vegans can eat baked goods (cupcakes and cobbler, for example) made without butter, eggs or albumin.

How much does it cost?
It’s moderately pricey. Fruits, vegetables and soy products – which should be filling your cart if you’re doing it right – are generally more expensive than heavily processed foods like white bread, sugary cereals and sweets. But bypassing the butcher will help keep the tab reasonable.

Will you lose weight?
Likely. Research shows vegans tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less and have a lower body mass index (a measure of body fat) than their meat-eating counterparts. If you’re doing it right – i.e., eating lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains – you’ll likely feel full on fewer calories than you’re allowed each day. With that “calorie deficit” and a little physical activity, you’re bound to shed pounds. How quickly and whether you keep them off is up to you.

Here’s what several key studies have to say about veganism:

  • In one study, 99 participants with Type 2 diabetes followed either a vegan diet or a diet based on American Diabetes Association guidelines. After 22 weeks, the vegans lost an average of 13 pounds versus 9 in the ADA group, according to findings published in 2006 in Diabetes Care. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can help stave off some diseases.
    In another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999, researchers tracked 45 people: 20 meat-eaters and 25 vegans who’d been following the approach for an average of 12 years. Body mass index was appreciably lower among the vegans, nine of whom had a BMI of below 19, the researchers found; a BMI below 18.5 suggests a person is underweight.
    More than 60 overweight, postmenopausal women were split into two groups: Half followed a vegan diet, and the other half followed a National Cholesterol Education Program diet (low in fat and dietary cholesterol). After a year, vegan dieters lost more weight than did the NCEP group: 10.8 pounds compared with 3.9 pounds. The pattern held up after two years, when the vegans still weighed 6.8 pounds less than they did when the study began, compared with 1.8 pounds for the NCEP group, according to findings published in 2007 in Obesity.

    In a study published in 2014 in Nutrition, researchers followed a group of 50 overweight or obese adults for six months. They found that those on a vegan diet lost significantly more weight than those on other plans, including vegetarian, semivegetarian and omnivorous – by about 4.3 percent or an average of 16.5 pounds. The study authors suspect that’s because the vegan dieters were focusing on high-fiber foods, which help you feel full for longer, and their diets were low in fat and likely had fewer calories.

    Vegan
    How easy is it to follow?
    How difficult is the idea of a turkey-free Thanksgiving and morning cereal without the milk? Be mindful that healthy veganism requires planning, especially if you’re a newbie.

  • Convenience: When you want to cook, there’s a recipe somewhere that’ll suit your taste buds. Still, veganism takes some work and creativity. It’s up to you to plan meals around plant protein rather than animal protein.
  • Recipes: Limitless. Vegan magazines, books and websites abound, offering suggestions for every meal and cuisine.
  • Eating out: Doable, but options may be limited. Garden vegetable soup and steamed veggies make good appetizers. Entree salads are your best bet, but don’t forget to hold the bacon bits, croutons and cheese. For dessert, go with fresh fruit.
  • Alcohol: Only certain types of alcohol are vegan-friendly. Some wines, for example, are filtered through gelatin, egg whites and isinglass, made from fish bladders. Check which brands are OK on Barnivore, a guide to alcoholic beverages for vegans.

 

  • Fullness: Nutrition experts emphasize the importance of satiety, the satisfied feeling that you’ve had enough. If you’ve built a healthful vegan diet around fiber-packed veggies, fruits and whole grains, you shouldn’t feel hungry between meals.
  • Taste: You’re preparing the food – if it doesn’t taste good, you know who to blame. Try reinventing your favorites: Go for black-bean instead of steak burritos, or if chicken stir-fry is your thing, use tofu instead of poultry. And consider replacing turkey meatballs or the meat in spaghetti sauce with white beans. There are lots of dessert options, too, including raspberry lavender cupcakes, gingerbread pumpkin seed brittle, cherry-berry peanut butter cobbler and poppy seed scones. (Often, treats are made using nondairy milk, soy or coconut creamer, flaxseeds, chickpea flour, vegan cream cheese, and even vegan sprinkles.)

    variety

Health & Nutrition
Veganism can conform to a healthful eating plan, but it takes work, and the risk of insufficient amounts of key nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, zinc and iron is real. That worried experts a bit, but they still gave the diet a respectable score.

What is the role of exercise?
Veganism only has rules on what you can and cannot eat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. No matter the diet, the more you move, the quicker you’ll see the pounds come off – and you’ll reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart problems and other chronic diseases. Adults are generally encouraged to get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity activity (like brisk walking) each week, along with a couple days of muscle-strengthening activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips to get you started.

pretty eater

Vegan Diet Recipes
Sample Menu
Here’s a day of meals for a vegan on a 1,500-calorie diet, adapted from a sample menu published in the Vegetarian Journal.
Breakfast
Orange-vanilla smoothie
1 slice whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons almond butter
Lunch
2 whole wheat tortillas with 1 cup kidney beans, 1/4 cup avocado and salsa, chopped tomatoes and lettuce as desired
Steamed kale with 1 teaspoon flax oil
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
Dinner
Tofu and snow pea stir-fry
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup watermelon cubes
Snack
1 cup calcium-fortified soymilk
3/4 cup unsweetened breakfast cereal

plate of veggies

Are there health risks?
If you create a sensible plan, you should be safe. But if you have a health condition, check with your doctor before going vegan.

Vegans often don’t get enough calcium, which can cause weak bones that break easily, according to a study published in Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in 2010. And in a 2009 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on the health effects of a vegan diet, researchers warned that vegans often don’t get enough vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and zinc. They’re also often low in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for brain, eye and cardiovascular health. Supplements might be necessary.

A 2016 study by a Mayo Clinic review team found that some poorly planned vegan diets could lead to a deficiency of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. A lack of some of these nutrients can have implications for bone strength, anemia, neurological disorders and other health problems. The clinic review team recommends that physicians observe their patients who eat vegan diets to makes sure they have adequate blood levels of calcium, ferritin, iron, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.

Does it have cardiovascular benefits?
It could. An eating pattern heavy on fruits and veggies, but light on saturated fat and salt, is considered the best way to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay.
• A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Florence in Italy found people who ate vegan and vegetarian diets showed a significant decrease in risk of heart disease and total cancer. The study found that people who ate vegan and vegetarian diets reduced their risk of ischemic heart disease by 25 percent, and people who consumed a vegan diet decreased their risk of total cancer by 15 percent.

• In a 12-year study that compared 6,000 vegetarians with 5,000 meat-eaters, researchers found that vegans had a 57-percent lower risk of ischemic heart disease than the meat-eaters.

• In the 2006 Diabetes Care study mentioned in the weight loss section, researchers concluded that vegan diets have a lipid- and cholesterol-lowering effect, likely because they eliminate dietary cholesterol (plant products are cholesterol-free) and are low in saturated fat.

• On your way to becoming vegan but can’t give up animal products cold turkey? Research finds those who simply eat a higher proportion of plant-based foods than animal-based foods have a 20-percent lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke. But there’s evidence that taking it a step further and going all-in vegan may provide additional protection against high blood pressure and death related to cardiovascular disease.

Can it prevent or control diabetes?
It appears to be a good option for both.

Prevention: Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. If going meat-and-dairy-free helps you lose weight and keep it off, you’ll stand a better chance of staving off the disease. Some research has linked veganism with a lower diabetes risk.

Control: Vegan diets are healthful for people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. And because there are no rigid meal plans or prepackaged meals, you can ensure that what you’re eating doesn’t go against your doctor’s advice.

• In the 2006 Diabetes Care study mentioned above, which involved 99 people with Type 2 diabetes, both a vegan diet and an ADA-dietary guidelines diet improved control of blood sugar levels. However, the benefit was more profound in the vegan group. Researchers also found that vegan diets may have a beneficial effect on hemoglobin A1C levels, a measure of blood sugar over time. After 22 weeks, the vegans decreased their hemoglobin A1C levels by 0.96 percentage points, compared with 0.56 among the ADA dieters. And 43 percent of vegan dieters reduced the number of diabetes medications they were taking, while just 26 percent of the ADA group did.

Vegan Diet Do’s & Don’ts

Do: Have about six servings of grains a day. Whole-wheat bread, quinoa and calcium-fortified cereal are good sources.
Do: Have dessert.
But it needs to be made without butter, eggs or albumin. Tofu cheesecake is a popular choice
Don’t: Eat any animal products.
That even includes dairy, gelatin and eggs.

Reference: Mayo Clinic

Look Younger : Secrets that Work

Published March 17, 2017 by teacher dahl

Primer

Start With Primer
If you’re old enough for laugh lines, a skin care makeover can give you a fresher, younger look. Our skin dries and thins with age, so products used five years ago may look quite matronly today. A better routine calls for skin primer, according to Robin Rylant, a celebrity makeup artist who’s worked with Celine Dion. A high-quality primer fills in small wrinkles, making them less visible.

Forgo Thick Foundation
If you still slather foundation directly over aging skin, you’re likely adding years to your look. That thick top coat tends to break into deep cracks, which look far worse than the fine lines you’re trying to hide. Instead, apply moisturizer, primer, then a light liquid foundation for additional skin-plumping moisture. Ryland suggests tapping it in gently with a sponge, rather than rubbing it in.

clown eyes
Avoid Clown Eyes
Applying flattering eye makeup requires precision. Unfortunately, eyesight tends to decline with age. “If you don’t see as well, you may not get the makeup on correctly,” Ryant says. The results can include clownish amounts of eye shadow or crooked eyeliner. The solution: “Get yourself a good magnifying mirror.”

Enhance the Shape of the Eye
As we age, the eyelids tend to droop, so the goal is to draw attention away from the lid and toward the actual eye. Eyeliner is the key. Apply it in a thin streak along the line where the lashes begin, top and bottom. This will enhance the shape of your eye and create the illusion of thicker lashes. Use soft shades and a light touch when applying eye shadow.

enhance
Put Eyebrows Back On
“Eyebrows are extremely important because they frame the face,” Ryant says. But the brows tend to grow thinner and grayer with age. To “put eyebrows back on,” Ryant recommends using eyebrow pencil that complements your hair color. Placing powder over the pencil will help it stay put. Some people choose to have eyebrows permanently tattooed, but the FDA and Consumer Reports has raised safety concerns about this practice.

bleeding lips

No Bleeding Lipstick

Don’t Let the Lips ‘Bleed’
Few things draw attention to wrinkles like bleeding lip color. This happens because lipstick is a cream, and it tends to slip into any low spaces — including the lines around your lips. To keep color from traveling, use moisturizer, then coat the lips with foundation before applying lipstick.

whiten teeth
Whiten Stained Teeth
Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains so your teeth look about one shade lighter. To go deeper, try peroxide-based whitening gels or strips. These products bleach the enamel of your teeth to change your natural tooth color. For the most dramatic results, an in-office treatment with your dentist can make the teeth visibly whiter in less than an hour. Several treatments may be needed to get the desired shade.

tired eyes

Rejuvenate Tired Eyes
If your eyes look tired, the most obvious solution may be to get more rest. Sleep triggers the release of hormones that help the skin remain thicker and more elastic. To reduce eye puffiness, cut back on salt and stay well hydrated. You can also try soothing swollen eyes with cool cucumber slices or moist tea bags.

dark circles

Reduce Dark Circles
Getting enough sleep can also minimize dark circles under the eyes. But in some people, the discoloration comes from too much pigmentation in the skin. In that case, creams containing lightening agents such as retinol, hydroquinone, green tea, or vitamin C may help. To camouflage dark circles, use a concealer one shade lighter than your skin and yellowish in tone. Wear SPF 30 sunscreen daily.

boosts thin hair
Boost Thinning Hair
You can give thinning hair the illusion of more body with some simple styling tricks. Use a large round brush to lift the hair and add volume. To set the style, use the cool button on your hairdryer. Styling with hot rollers is another good option. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to add body, Ryant suggests a perm.

pamper hands

Pamper Your Hands
The skin on the hands has very little fatty tissue underneath and can easily become crinkled when dry. Applying moisturizer throughout the day can draw water into the skin to help hands look plumper and more youthful. Look for a moisturizer that contains glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or safflower seed oil. You can also use lightening creams to fade age spots on the hands.

dont smoke

Don’t Smoke
One of the surest ways to protect against skin damage is to avoid cigarettes. Studies of twins suggest smokers have skin that is more wrinkled and up to 40% thinner than nonsmokers. Researchers believe tobacco smoke releases an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin, compounds that are vital to the skin’s structure and elasticity.

Protein & Other Nutrients In An Egg

Published March 12, 2017 by teacher dahl

egg frame

YOLKS Vs WHITES

A combination of amino acids, some of which are called essential because the human body needs them from the diet because it can’t synthesize them. Adequate dietary protein intake must include all the essential amino acids your body needs daily. The egg boasts them all: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. These amino acids are present in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the human body needs, so the egg is often the measuring stick by which other protein foods are measured. In addition to the nine essential amino acids, there are nine other amino acids in an egg.
Many different ways to measure protein quality have been developed. According to the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), whole egg, whey protein, casein and soy-protein concentrate all score 1 on a scale of 0 to 1. Whole egg exceeds all other protein foods tested with a score of 1.21 (above human needs) in the Amino Acid Score (AAS) rating system. At 3.8, the Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) of eggs also outscores other proteins.

Altogether each Large egg provides a total of 6.29 grams of high-quality, complete protein. For this reason, eggs are classified with meat in the Protein Foods Group. One egg of any size equals one ounce of lean meat, poultry, fish or seafood. In addition to about 12.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV) for protein, a large egg provides varying amounts of many other nutrients, too.

eggs
Yolk
The yolk, or yellow portion, of an egg makes up about 34% of the liquid weight of the egg. It contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein. The yolk of a large egg contains about 55 calories.
With the exception of niacin and riboflavin, the yolk contains a higher proportion of the egg’s vitamins than the white, including vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid and thiamin. All of the egg’s vitamins A, D, E and K are in the yolk. Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. The yolk also contains more calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc than the white.
Double-yolked eggs are often produced by young hens whose egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronized. They’re often produced too, by hens which are old enough to produce extra large-sized eggs. Genetics is a factor, also. Occasionally a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It’s rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.It’s the yolk which is responsible for the egg’s emulsifying properties.
Yolk Color
Yolk color depends on the hen’s diet. If a hen eats plenty of yellow-orange plant pigments called xanthophylls, the xanthophylls will be deposited in the egg yolk. Hens fed mashes containing yellow corn or alfalfa meal lay eggs with medium yellow yolks, while those eating wheat or barley yield lighter-colored yolks. A colorless diet, such as white cornmeal, produces almost colorless yolks. Natural yellow-orange substances, such as marigold petals, may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance yolk color. Artificial color additives are not permitted. Most buyers in this country prefer gold or lemon-colored yolks. Yolk pigments are relatively stable and are not lost or changed in cooking.
Albumen – Also Known As Egg White.
Depending on the size of the egg, albumen accounts for most of an egg’s liquid weight, about 66%. The white contains more than half the egg’s total protein, a majority of the egg’s niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and none of the fat. The white of a large egg contains about 17 calories.
Albumen color is opalescent and doesn’t appear white until an egg is beaten or cooked. The cloudy appearance comes from carbon dioxide. As eggs age, carbon dioxide escapes, so the albumen of older eggs is more transparent than that of fresher eggs.
The albumen consists of four alternating layers of thick and thin consistencies. From the yolk outward, they are designated as the inner thick or chalaziferous white, the inner thin white, the outer thick white and the outer thin white. As an egg ages, the egg white tends to thin out because its protein changes in character. That’s why fresh eggs sit up tall and firm in the pan while older ones tend to spread out.
When you beat egg white vigorously, it foams and increases in volume six to eight times. Egg foams are essential for making meringues, puffy omelets, soufflés, angel food and sponge cakes.

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Humitas or Steamed fresh Corn Cakes

Published November 14, 2016 by teacher dahl

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Humitas are savory steamed fresh corn cakes made from a mixture of freshly ground corn, onion, garlic, cheese, eggs, and cream, which is placed inside corn husks and steamed. Humitas are hard to translate, if you’ve ever had an humita you know what it is, but to describe them to someone who’s never had them before is a little bit complicated. I guess you could compare them to fresh corn and cheese tamales (and explaining the difference between a tamal from Ecuador and tamal from Mexico is a completely different story).

Humitas are made using fresh corn, which is ground with other ingredients and then stuffed in a fresh corn husk and steamed. In Ecuador, humitas are very popular in the Sierra or Highland region, especially in cities like Loja, Cuenca or Quito, and they are typically eaten for breakfast or with the afternoon coffee.

Recipe for Humitas or steamed fresh corn cakes
Recipe for humitas or savory steamed fresh corn cakes made from a mixture of freshly ground corn, onion, garlic, cheese, eggs, and cream, which is placed inside corn husks and steamed.
Ingredients
6-7 fresh ears of corn, with husks
3 cups grated or crumbled cheese, mozzarella or a fresh farmers cheese
1 cup diced white onions, about ½ large onion
1 tsp ground coriander (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
About 1 cup corn meal
¼ cup of heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
To serve:
Aji de tomate de arbol or tree tomato hot sauce

Instructions
Remove the husks from the corn; try to keep each husk intact, the large ones will be used as wrappers for the humitas and the smaller ones will be broken into long strips to tie around the humitas.
To help make the corn husks more pliable place them in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain the water and save the husks until ready to use.

humita-1

Remove the silky hairs from the corn and use a knife to cut the corn kernels from the cob, if you don’t have a steamer save the cobs to use as a steamer.
Place the corn kernels, 1 cup of cheese, diced onions, crushed garlic, ground coriander, corn meal, cream, eggs, and salt in the food processor, mix until the corn is pureed.
In large deep pot place about 2 ½ cups of water and a steamer, the water should be just below the steamer, if you don’t have a steamer arrange the cobs on the bottom of the pan instead and cover them with some of the leftover husks.

humita-2

To fill each humita (see detailed instructions on filling above as well as pictures), use 2 of the large corn husks per humita, place them on top of each other, fold the left side of the husks, then fold the top half over the bottom half, this creates a semi-pocket, fill it with a spoonful of the mixture (how much mixture will depend on the size of the husks, the larger the husks the more filling you can add) and stuff some of theremaining cheese in the middle, now fold over the right side of the husk and tighten it up a little bit, use the thin strips to tie around the wrapper and keep it closed.

humita-3
Place the humitas in the pot on top of the steamer, I like to keep them slightly inclined with the open end on top. Place any leftover husks on top and cover well.
Place the pot on the stove over high heat until you hear the water boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes, the cooked humitas will be slightly firm to firm when they are done.

final-folding
Serve warm with aji de tomate de arbol or tree tomato hot sauce.

Notes
For the slightly more sophisticated variation of humitas, this version separates the eggs and beats the whites.
Ingredients:
Same as the previous humita recipe, with the following changes:
Add 4 tbs butter, elted
Approximately 1 ¼ cups corn meal (instead of 1 cup)
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated (instead of 2 eggs)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp salt (instead of 1 tsp salt)

more-sophisticated

Instructions: Same as above, except add only the egg yolks to the food processor mix. Also add the melted butter, baking powder and sugar to the mix in the food processor. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and incorporate the whites into the corn mix. Follow instructions above to assemble the humitas.

folding

Humita making process: How to fill and close the corn husks

The whole process of filling the humita mixture into the corn husks can be a little bit confusing until you get the hang of it. This is another part that people do differently depending on how they were taught.

Use the corn husk to create a wrapper for the humitas, the larger ones will be used to make the wrapper and you can use pieces of the smaller husks to tie around the wrappers to keep them sealed. The bigger the husks the better, of course you’ll get to a point where the bigger ones are all gone or most of them will be small to start, so in that case I use 2 husks and place them on top of each other oppositely, i.e. top part of second husk should be placed on top the bottom part of the first husk, and not directly on top, on the side, the idea is to create a wrapper so you want to use both husk to overlap to increase the width.

sophie-final-pix
Next you can place a spoonful of the mixture in the wider part of the husks (upper or lower) and some cheese in the middle, and then close it or you can finish or semi-finish the husk wrapper and then stuff it with the corn mixture.

final-frame-humitas

To close the wrapper, fold the left side over the mixture (or where the mixture will be placed), then fold the other half of the husk over – I like to stuff them at this point -, and then fold the right side, if you don’t have any mixture in it you will see that this creates a small pocket that you can then fill with a spoonful of corn mixture, some cheese and some more mixture.

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One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes

Published November 11, 2016 by teacher dahl

pasta-pix

 

This pasta dinner is a game changer: You use just enough liquid to cook the pasta–no colander needed. Recipe adapted from our sister publication Southern Living.
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups pasta mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese)
Total time: 29 Minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or linguine (such as Barilla)
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounce fresh spinach
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Preparation
1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.
2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.
3. Add tomatoes, stock, oregano, and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil.
4. Stir to submerge noodles in liquid.
5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.
6. Uncover; stir in salt.
7. Add spinach in batches, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cheese.
Riff: Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and add fresh herbs.
Riff: Swap out spaghetti for any short pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.
Riff: Try adding chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey for a heartier dish.

myrecipes.com

 

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