All About This Blog

There isn’t a day that goes by when I am not asked what is the best olive oil or which skillet would be the best for sauteing. As a nutritionist, cookbook author and culinary instructor, I take it as a personal responsibility to be on the lookout for products that will enhance my clients' lifestyles.

Fabulous Food Finds is an outgrowth of my original blog You Can Eat That. Every Friday on the original blog, we would do Friday Food Picks: Products We Love. It became our favorite blog entry and so we decided to create a blog entirely devoted to scouring the markets to bring our readers the best food and kitchen tools we can find.

We do not accept any products directly from the manufacturers. We actually hunt, forage, and search for products aisle after aisle in markets large and small. We are not in the business of totally trashing a product, but will give an honest review of the things we find.

We’ve done the work for you. All you need to do is enjoy our selections and our original recipes that go with them. Feel free to leave us comments and if you have favorite products of your own, please be sure to let us know!

The Paris Vacation Guide Book Launch Party at Alliance Française de Washington DC

af rob 4

I’m thrilled to say that the launch party for my new ebook, The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide, was a smashing success at Alliance Française de Washington DC.

In addition to my wonderful guests including journalists, food writers, restaurateurs, and scholars, I had the rare opportunity to meet the top brass at Alliance Francaise North America ~ a real honor.

Thank you to all who joined me and I thank you all for your comments, tweets and love. Also, please join me on Facebook, and have a look at the photo album below.

Merci to all,

Robyn

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Paris in Times Square!

Yes, this is my new ebook The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide on the Times Square marquee!!

Stay tuned for my next post about a fabulous contest for WINNING a copy of this ebook, AND a delicious goody to savor as well!
xo
Robyn

http://www.parisvacationapartmentguide.com/

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Coming Soon (you may want to find your passport)!

Most of you know my passion in addition to wonderful world of food is travel! I’m excited to announce that my years of visiting the most wonderful city in the world, Paris, has paid off in the debut of my newest writing adventure, The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide: Rent With Confidence Without Getting Overwhelmed, Ripped Off Or Scammed!

paris apartment guide

Staying in an apartment brings you much closer to experiencing the City of Light on a local level, more than an hotel stay ever will. Over the years, I have become quite expert in how to rent successfully and enjoy all that Paris has to offer. It is my hope with this first ever book written on the subject you’ll live like a Parisian-even for just a week! I’ll save you time, money and effort!

Debuts this fall ~ look for the launch very soon, but I warn you, you may find yourself packing your bags for Paris asap!

The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide www.parisvacationapartmentguide.com/

The Paris Vacation Apartment Guide www.parisvacationapartmentguide.com

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A conversation with Robyn Webb

~ an interview with Robyn Webb by Lee Romano Sequeira.

robyn webb

I love to find out what makes people tick, especially about how their given vocation “found them” or vice versa, so I hope you enjoy my conversation with Robyn Webb, nutritionist, teacher, author & chef! ~ Lee

So nice to let your readers and friends learn more about you, so here goes question number one: You’re known in the media as Robyn Webb — do you have a middle name, and what was your maiden name?
Robyn Amy Webb, Maiden name is Berman.

Where did you grow up, and how long have you been in beautiful Alexandria, VA?
I grew up in upstate NY in a town called Monticello which is part of the Catskill Mountains. It’s only about 1 1/2 hr drive from NYC. I’ve been in the DC area since 1987, and in Old Town Alexandria since 1991.

Do you have a daily “uniform”?
Depends: if I am teaching a cooking class it’s a def uniform! Jeans, Fitted T Shirt, Flat shoes, hair up in a ponytail. For meeting clients for counseling I dress up either in pants and jacket or dress. I actually love the French style of dressing (chic, looking effortless) and a lot of my clothes are from Paris.

Did you have an “A HA” moment when you knew nutrition, cooking and teaching were for you?
I grew up in the hotel business. My father was the Social Director and my mother was the owners private executive secretary at the very famous Concord Hotel Resort. So I was around really good food practically from birth. If you have ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing (who hasn’t!), that movie was an extremely accurate depiction of how I grew up. Yes, we had the dance people( not quite as good looking as Patrick Swayze though!) and we served way too much food to all the guests.

My father passed away from a massive heart attack at age 38 (he was quite heavy) when I was 6 (my sister was 7) and even at that very young age, it implanted a mark in my being that nutrition is very important. I started cooking around age 12 and I mean really cooking, not just making cookies. From the on I prepared all the family meals; my Mom had to return to work and so I was glad to help her out. My sister made the salads (she continues to beat me in that area to this day)!

And the I always had a knack for imparting information to others in a way that they would learn. I just enjoy the process of teaching and breaking down steps into doable parts. Maybe it’s the “little boss” in me that comes out; I love telling others what to do (ha!).

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you do?
I’d probably be an actress; in fact I went to theatre camps and always was in plays. My father was more than just the Social Director, he actually was a comedian and actor.

He appeared on Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and many other shows. All his friends were comedians and actors; his best friend was comedian Rodney Dangerfield who actually lived in our house for some time. At my first birthday party, dancer and actor Gregory Hines performed. Yes, this was my what it was like in young years; but ultimately I am not the best at continuous rejection, so acting was ruled out.

I love that! So interesting, and something I never knew about you! Ok, next question: What’s one thing people don’t understand about your job?
I am not sure it’s a matter of misunderstanding, but I think people don’t realize that not just anyone can write a cookbook, teach a class, counsel a client. With the “celebratization” of the food world, everyone thinks they are an expert. That’s why the world of nutrition and food can get so confusing often to the detriment of people’s health.

Any occupational hazards?
My feet hurt a lot! You never saw a person stretch her calves so much in your life!

Robyn, if you inviting friends over for dinner, what would your specialty be?
I love preparing mostly Mediterranean foods; big salads with homemade dressings, grilled fishes, lots of veggies, and a sweet treat usually something chocolate based for dessert.

Ok, I am getting hungry. Let’s find out what all-time favorite restaurants are.
I’ve traveled all over the world, been to close to 70 countries and have been on every continent except Antarctica. So I’ve taken advantage along with my wonderful husband, the many top restaurants all over the world. But truth be told, I can enjoy Michelin starred and heavily lauded places as much as a undiscovered hole in the wall. So by contrast; one of my favorite restaurants was Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo; it was pure magic, almost theatre. But then in Haifa, Israel, I went to a complete hole in the wall falafel place called Michaelis and I speak of both experiences with the same enthusiasm and same elaborate hand gestures!

– and your favorite vacation spot?
Paris

Do tell – your ‘secret’ talent?
I can get my eyeliner on in one fell swoop!

Nice to have in a rush! What are you looking forward to this summer?
Seeing my grandson of course! And we are going to visit the last 3 states we have not been to; N Dakota, Idaho and Montana. I’m not much of a nature gal, but this was one of hubbies wishes and hey you got to compromise.

If your hubby could describe you in one word it would be
Quirky

If you had to describe you in one word it would be:
Curious

Any food trends you wish would dry up and blow away?
Cupcakes, please let them shrivel up and die

What new food trends are you enjoying?
I just hope the continued interest in supporting local farmers never ever goes away

Favorite foodie movie?
It’s a new one for me-Chef starring Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo and Sophia Vergara. I just saw it; it’s a must see!

I cannot wait to see that movie! Your favorite kitchen tool is?
It has to be tongs. So good for more than just transferring food. It’s my hubs favorite tool too (ooops, that’s a little more information than you need!)

Thank you Robyn – this was fabulous, just like your blog!

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My Smart Shopper Cookbook is now a Silver Medalist

Just a few days ago I was notified that my Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook won the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal!

Next month there’s a ceremony in New York for all of the winners, and the best part is that this book — along with two other titles — will advance toward the Gold Medal!! (YES, I’ll be there!)

Please wish me luck and you can heck out all the details here.

smart shopper diabetes cookbook
Ben Franklin Book Award

About the Awards: The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.

The Awards are administered by IBPA, with help from over 160 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are unique in that the entrants receive direct feedback on their titles. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers.

Prestige as a publisher is one of the many benefits of being named as a winner of this distinguished award. In addition, Gold winners receive an engraved crystal trophy. Gold and Silver winners receive award certificates along with gold or silver stickers. All winners are announced to the major trade journals and media.

To purchase your copy of the Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook, please visit this link.

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Let’s Cook! Kale and Tomato Frittata & Herbed Barley Salad (2 recipes) from The American Diabetes Association EXPO

Get your shopping list ready as you’ll want to try these two recipes I cooked up recently at the
American Diabetes Association EXPO in Chicago on April 5th. We are launching America Gets Cooking To Stop Diabetes, a cooking program designed to educate consumers on how tasty meals for people with diabetes can be.

Look for the program to come to an EXPO near you!

In the meantime, feast your eyes on the finished meals, The Herbed Barley Salad and The Kale and Tomato Frittata below, and be sure to check out the full recipes (& many more) in the April issue of Diabetes Forecast Magazine.

herbed barley salad
The Herbed Barley Salad.

kale frittata
The Kale and Tomato Frittata
.

ENJOY!
~ Robyn

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America Gets Cooking To Stop Diabetes

On April 5th, I had the honor and pleasure of debuting America Gets Cooking, a new and educational cooking program for the American Diabetes Association’s nationwide EXPO. EXPO is the largest 1 day consumer show in major cities across the US all year long that’s dedicated solely to educating the public about diabetes. As Food Editor of the award winning Diabetes Forecast Magazine, I met hundreds and hundreds of people in Chicago as I signed my award winning cookbooks and performed a fun cooking demo.

Diabetes Expo

Diabetes Expo

Diabetes Expo

Diabetes afflicts 26 million people in the US alone with 79 million are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. So as you can see the need for education is critical. I had such fun chatting with all the wonderful attendees, hearing their challenges as well as their triumphs. If I made any impact on the lives of these extraordinary folks, then lets just say, I’ll call April 5th a very successful day indeed!

Look for updates where I’ll be appearing in a city near you soon!

Diabetes Expo

diabetes expo


Stay tuned for my next post featuring two FABULOUS recipes I cooked up at the EXPO!

In the meantime, LET’S CONNECT! Join me on FACEBOOK & TWITTER

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I ♥ RADIO

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest with The Family Food Experts on I Heart RADIO. We discussed cooking up delicious diabetic meals the whole family will enjoy, so I invite you to sit back and have a listen at your leisure, just click ♥HERE♥

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Chicken Pot Pie vs. Ratatouille: A contest of taste!

On my Facebook Fan Page last week, I pitted two of my favorite recipes against each other for a vote. Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo and Ratatouille from my award-winning Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook stood head to head to see which one my fans would gobble up first.

It was a tight race, but It seems that the standard pot pie was the winner!

What kind of comfort food book would it be if a pot pie wasn’t included. The most important part of the pie is its crust and with all the fat and calories mostly residing here,I had to come up with something homey and comforting, but to fit the needs for people with diabetes( and really anyone who wants to eat healthier)

When I was a little girl, my Mom,sister and I made the classic Greek spinach pie, spanakopita, every Sunday. The crackle and crunch of the phyllo dough was my favorite part. We might have committed a culinary sin in the eyes of Greek cooks everywhere, but my Mom figured out we didn’t need to brush each layer of phyllo with butter, but could coat the layers with cooking spray! The result is fantastic with many, many,many calories and fat grams saved!

While the Ratatouille lagged a little in votes, fans commented they wouldn’t push a bowl of this away! My yearly trips to France was the inspiration to include this luscious melange of garden fresh vegetables with aromatic herbs and spices. You might not ever see Ratatouille in any other book billed as a comfort food, but try telling that to the French!

Enjoy both recipes and remember,sharing really is caring, so please share this with all those who bring you comfort!

CHICKEN POT PIE WITH PHYLLO
Serves 12: / Serving Size: 1 (3 × 3 inch) square
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

There is nothing more comforting than chicken and veggies in a lusciously thick sauce topped with a flaky crust. The earthy aroma of this dish will fill your kitchen and call everyone to dinner. The secret to this ultimate comfort food? By using butter flavored spray and phyllo dough we slash all the saturated fat and calories found in a typical pie crust topping. The phyllo dough topping is infinitely more interesting that a standard crust.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
10 ounces (3 cups) cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
1 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium (1 cup) carrots, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large (2 cups) onion, diced
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
6 tablespoons flour
8 ounces frozen peas
1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley
8 sheets (9×14”) phyllo dough
butter flavored spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season the diced chicken with garlic powder and freshly ground pepper and set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the mushrooms and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Once the mushrooms soften, set them aside in a bowl. Strain any liquid from the mushrooms.

3. Add in the potatoes and thyme leaves and lower the heat to medium. Simmer the potatoes for about 8 minutes until tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and thyme to a bowl. Discard the thyme leaves. Add the carrots and onions to the stock and simmer for 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove the carrots and onions to the same bowl with the potatoes.

4. Add the chicken to the stock and simmer the chicken for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to the same bowl with the vegetables. Reduce the stock until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, whisk the milk, half-and-half and flour together in a bowl until very smooth. When the stock is reduced slowly, add the milk mixture to the stock, constantly stirring until thickened, but smooth. Add the sauce to the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Add in the reserved mushrooms, peas, and parsley, and mix well.

6. Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch pan. Set aside.

7. Spread one sheet of phyllo out onto a very lightly floured surface. Be sure to cover the remaining sheets of phyllo with a towel to avoid exposing to air. The phyllo will crack if exposed. Coat with the butter spray. Add another sheet of phyllo on top of the first sheet and coat with spray. Repeat this process until all 8 sheets are used.

5. Carefully lift the phyllo dough stack and place over the chicken vegetable filling. Tuck the edges under. With a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slashes across the top of the dough. This will allow steam to escape.

6. Bake the chicken pot pie, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes. Cut into squares.

Exchanges/Choices
1 1/2 Starch
1 Vegetable
1 Lean Meat

Calories 180
Calories from Fat 20
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 25 mg
Sodium 180 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 13 g
__________________________________________
CLASSIC RATATOUILLE

Serves: 4 / Serving Size: 1 cup
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ratatouille is the ultimate comfort food in France. Although perhaps not thought of as a comfort food here in the U.S., it should be! A rich stewed mixture of fresh garden vegetables is so satisfying any time of year. I make mine with a lot less fat than the traditional recipe, keeping it light and fresh. But it still packs a flavorful punch!

1 small eggplant, unpeeled, top removed
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, thickly sliced
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4–1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1. Cut the eggplant into 3/4-inch cubes. Place the eggplant in a colander and
Sprinkle it with salt. Place a bowl over the eggplant and let stand for 1/2
hour.

2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-high
heat. Add the onion and red and green peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the zucchini to the skillet Sauté on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove the zucchini and place with the other vegetables.

4. Rinse the salt from the eggplant and dry it with a paper towel. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Sauté the eggplant on medium heat for 6–7 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables to the eggplant. Stir in the thyme, oregano, pepper, and cayenne and cook for 5 minutes. Serve.

Exchanges/Choices
3 Vegetables
2 Fat

Calories 185
Calories from Fat 100
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 15 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Sugars 10 g
Protein 4 g

Recipes from The American Diabetes Association’s Comfort Food Cookbook
© 2011 by Robyn Webb. All rights reserved.

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3 Diet Secrets of the French

Did you ever meet someone and in an instant click? My guest poster, Layne Lieberman, RD and I just recently met, but we share the same exact philosophy; bring the healthy habits of the people of Europe to an American audience. I’ve been to over 70 countries and can tell you that Layne is right on the mark in her ultra gorgeous new book, Beyond The Mediterranean Diet (WorldRD, 2013)

Throughout her 2 year journey through Europe, she discovered that three countries; France, Italy and Switzerland, are the leaders in longevity, yet have some of the worlds most decadent foods. How can this be? In this post Layne shares about France, my favorite of the three countries. She’ll explain how the French approach to health is so very different than ours and how you can achieve their effective results right here at home. So maybe now we can all relax if some butter passes our hungry lips!

ENJOY,
~ ROBYN

P.S. Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature one of Layne’s delectable recipes — take it away Layne!!

Oh, to be a sophisticated French woman in a sleek pencil skirt, black heels, and a scarf tied just so. These women seem to have it all – a svelte body, the ability to look chic even when toting small children, while enjoying a diet rich in pastries and wine!

This phenomenon is known as the “French Paradox.” For some mysterious reason, the French can consume luxurious, fat-laden items like foie gras (the fatty liver of a force-fed goose or duck) and rich, creamy sauces like béarnaise (made with butter and egg yolks). Yet, they have the lowest rate of death from heart disease in Europe — a whopping 60% lower than the rate in the United States. How can this be?

French and American researchers have speculated that perhaps the chemical makeup of wine (red wine, in particular) negated the harmful effects of the fats. In 1991, the TV program, 60 Minutes, featured an interview with French researcher, Serge Renaud, to discuss this phenomenon. It was the highest rated and most watched television show that week, and viewers were convinced that the answer to the “French Paradox” lay within a bottle of wine.

The bottom line is, drinking wine with a fatty, cream-based entree is not the reason France boasts such impressive health statistics. To find the secret of their health success, I decided to undertake an up-close-and-personal investigation into what Americans could do, like the French, to stay slim and healthy without feeling deprived of delicious and decadent foods.

Here’s a sampling of dietary secrets from the French (excerpted from Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy):

1. There are no forbidden foods, as long as you eat a balanced diet with wholesome and natural ingredients. For example, if you’re in the mood to indulge in a breakfast croissant, choose one that is authentic: freshly baked and made from natural ingredients. The taste experience of a flaky pastry, crispy on the outside and doughy soft on the inside, melts in your mouth. Surprisingly, a true French croissant weighs only about an ounce and measures 15 inches around, which works out to about 115 calories.

2. On special occasions, share a dessert four ways, such as petit fours. Better yet, to end a meal, opt for low fat yogurt and fruit. Keep high fat, processed cakes, cookies and chips out of the house (out of sight, out of mind), but do keep a fruit bowl in your fridge.

3. Train your eyes to recognize a healthy size portion of food. A portion of meat, poultry or fish is 3 to 6 ounces cooked (depending upon how many calories you need per day). A satisfying portion of pasta is one cup cooked. You may want to begin weighing and measuring foods to get the hang of it. Remember, the French don’t eat small portions; we Americans have gotten used to eating supersized portions.

Bon appétit et une bonne santé (GOOD APPETITE AND GOOD HEALTH)!

Layne Lieberman, RD, is a culinary nutritionist and author of Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. Copyright 2013

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