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!

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♥

Read More      No Comments

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.

Read More      No Comments

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

Read More      No Comments

Start Shopping Smart (& listen to this radio interview)

Whether we (or a family member) has diabetes or not, we all want to shop smarter, right?

Have a listen HERE to my radio interview with Donna Seebo, of The Donna Seebo Show on PWR Network Radio, where I’ll discuss some great options and how to begin shopping smart with The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook, published by the American Diabetes Association.

Read More      No Comments

Join me on Instagram

Please join me on Instagram!
Just click the little camera icon below & I’ll see you there soon!

Instagram

Read More      No Comments

Ring in a Fabulous New Year

Just popping by to say ThANK YOU all for your support of this blog. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead!
xo Robyn

happy 2014 to all

photo via Pinterest

Read More      No Comments

Side dishes you’ll be thankful for

If you’re still searching for the perfect side dishes for your Thanksgiving table, here are three fabulous recipes from my previous posts which are sure to please the whole family.

CLICK HERE for Chunky applesauce: Serve it with the turkey

CLICK HERE for Pumpkin butter: Sweetly spiced, perfect for Thanksgiving rolls and more!

and for the jewel on your Thanksgiving table, CLICK HERE to try this delicious Honey Cranberry Orange Relish



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Robyn

Read More      No Comments

8 Amazing Uses of Coconut Oil

Tara Heath, today’s guest blogger would like to share some tips on one of her favorite things: COCONUT OIL. Enjoy!

Chances are you’ve heard of coconut oil or seen it in a product at the grocery or drugstore. While coconut oil has become fairly popular over the last few years, many people don’t fully understand how much you can really do with it.

Below, you’ll find a list of 8 amazing uses of coconut oil – which is really only a small sampling of all the things coconut oil can be used for in your home and beauty routine.

Oil1

Image Courtesy of Flickr

1. Cooking

Perhaps the most common use for coconut oil is for cooking. The reason it’s so popular is because of its high smoke point, which means that it’s ideal for food items like stir-fry’s where high heat and fast cooking are ideal.

Coconut oil also contains essential fatty acids that are healthy for the body.

2. Eye Makeup Remover

Believe it or not, coconut oil works very well all by itself for getting rid of eye makeup. To use it, simply wipe a little bit on a clean cotton pad and slowly wipe the makeup off.

You may need to repeat the process for heavy eye makeup, but the benefit is that coconut oil is also hydrating to the skin and doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients like some makeup removers can.

3. Hair Conditioner

If you have dry hair, you know how hard it can be to find a conditioner that really works. While coconut oil isn’t something you’ll want to use every single day, the essential fatty acid content can really help to nourish hair and bring dull hair back to life.

To use coconut oil, simply work a small amount into your hair like you would your regular conditioner. Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it out.

4. Homemade Toothpaste

Making your own toothpaste might not seem like a good use of your time, but if you’re interested in all-natural products, there aren’t a ton of options out there. Plus, making your own toothpaste saves quite a bit of money, especially if you have a big family.

Follow this simple recipe for homemade toothpaste, using coconut oil as a main ingredient.

5. Facial Moisturizer

Coconut oil can be used by pretty much anybody on their hair, at least once in a while for extra moisture. However, for people with extremely dry skin, coconut oil makes an ideal facial moisturizer.

In fact, it’s sort of like an all-natural night cream. It’s thick, heavy, and will take a while to set in, but the end result is soft skin, smooth and completely nourished after just a few nights of use.

6. For Cuts and Scrapes  

Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which means it aids in getting rid of potentially harmful germs. The best use of coconut oil for this purpose is on small cuts and scrapes.

Coconut oil isn’t necessarily going to fight infection, but it can keep germs from spreading when used regularly like Neosporin. Putting coconut oil on your feet and toes can also help fight athlete’s foot and toe fungus.

7. To Get Rid of Lice

Natural treatments for head lice are pretty much impossible to find. That’s because most people just want to get them off themselves and their kids, and whatever works fastest is the best option.

However, making your own head lice treatment is possible with a combination of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Best of all, you won’t smell like chemicals for two days after you use it!

8. To Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Coconut oil contains fat, yes, which is generally associated with cholesterol. However, coconut oil contains the good type of fat – the type of fat that can actually work to lower bad serum cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

Just a tablespoon a day might be enough to keep the doctor away!

Oil2

Image Courtesy of Flickr

As you can see, coconut oil has a wide variety of uses, and this is only a handful of them. There are hundreds of other uses out there and all of them are easy to implement in your home!

Before you rush out and buy coconut oil, make sure the brand you’re buying is a quality product. Organic, natural coconut oil tends to be best. If you can’t get that, you want something with as little processing as possible. If you don’t have a health food or natural foods store near you, consider ordering online from a reputable dealer.

Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. As a skincare professional, she recommends all-natural products to increase the health and look of your skin. She contributes to the Skintrium blog often.

Read More      No Comments

Let’s shop smart! (& giveaway cookbooks!)

Looking for more ways to prepare meals with less stress and more flavor? All it takes is my smart shopping tips you’ll find in my new cookbook, The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook: Strategies for Stress-free Meals from the Deli Counter, Freezer, Salad Bar, and Grocery Shelves.

Want to win one?
Keep reading!



Here’s why you’ll love this book (and it’s great for anyone — with or without diabetes):

Planning meals for a hectic schedule is hard enough; planning meals for diabetes can be downright torture. So this book, The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook, is here to help. This contemporary collection of recipes is based on a simple concept—let fresh packaged and minimally processed foods, such as those found in the deli or salad bar sections of the grocery store, do the work for you.

To simplify meal planning even more, all of the 125 recipes have been organized into thorough menus that show which recipes can be combined or swapped with other recipes in the book to meet certain nutritional recommendations. Perfect for people looking to control calories or keep carbs consistent. Now, with one small shopping basket, one local grocery store, and a quick pass through the express checkout, people with diabetes can have a complete healthy, delicious, and hassle-free meal planning solution.

About winning a copy: I’m giving away a copy to two readers — to be entered to win, just leave a comment about what you like (or if you’d rather, what you dislike) about grocery shopping, and we’ll select two random winners on Halloween day, October, 31st, 2013.

Good Luck & SHOP SMART!

The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook is available at American Diabetes Association or Amazon.com

Read More      4 Comments

Let’s Thai One On! (Thai Red Curry recipe)

This Thai Red Curry recipe is simple and delicious, and we happened to just find it hiding amongst our many fab food finds posts! Somehow, it was never made active, so you’ll notice the photos have a 2012 date. So whether it’s 2013 or 2020, let’s cook up some Thai for the whole family!

Thai Red Chicken Curry

2 TBsp La Tourangelle Thai Wok Oil
4 Tbsp red curry paste
1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast
2 cans coconut milk
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup julienned bamboo shoots
1/2 cup thinly sliced Thai basil
6 Tbsp fish sauce
2 TBsp brown sugar

1. Heat the Thai Wok Oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Add the curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer in low heat for 10 minutes. Serve over brown jasmine rice.

All photographs and recipe testing by Olga Berman from Mango & Tomato.

Read More      No Comments