All Entries For food network

Taste Test: Hot Sauce


With so much talk about hot sauce, we had to taste test all the popular varieties for ourselves. We got our mouths fired up for this spicy taste test. Find out who topped our list.

It’s All About Sodium
Hot sauce is the new ketchup. Dab a little on sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, chili, grilled meats, eggs – almost any dish. If you check out the label, you’ll notice that there’s not much nutrition information per serving—no calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, or protein (or at least so little that it can be listed as zero by food labeling guideline). What it does have is sodium—and some brands have more than others. 
Posted 8/22/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 67 comments   18,901 views
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Have You Tried . . . Sriracha?


The fiery red sauce in the green-topped squeeze bottle is a staple in my kitchen. Loyal fans will not go near another chili sauce – it’s so popular it has its own Facebook page.

What is Sriracha?

Sriracha was developed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1980′s by David Tran. His Chinese and Vietnamese roots were the inspiration for this American-born chili sauce.

Pronounced "SIR-rotch-ah" this sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is the perfect balance of hot, spicy, tangy and sweet. Instead of just being hot, Sriracha has serious flavor that keeps food-lovers coming back for more. It even has a nickname – affectionately dubbed “rooster sauce” (the bottle dotes the image of a rooster – Tran’s astrological sign). 
Posted 8/15/2012  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 83 comments   12,892 views
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Label Decoder: Pectin


You’ve seen it on hundreds of labels and may have even used it in your own kitchen — learn all the need-to-know facts about this additive.

What Is It?

Pectin is a gelatin-like substance that is naturally found in some fruits. It’s often added to jams and jellies to help cooked fruits reach a gel-like consistency. It can also be used to thicken barbecue sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting and yogurt. Some homemade jellies may call for high pectin fruit such as quince, concord grapes, currants, raspberries or apples in order to help thicken them. Fruit that is slightly underripe contains more pectin than fruits that have fully ripened. 
Posted 8/8/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 15 comments   10,533 views
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Taste Test: Gluten-Free Breads


The gluten-free phenomenon has lead to dozens of new products on store shelves. Breads and baked goods are some of the hardest foods to make tasty and sans gluten. We polled our readers and took their favorite brands for a test drive.

The Criteria

For this taste test, we rated breads based on taste, texture, nutrition and cost. Each variety was rated on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Gluten-free breads are famously higher in calories so we tried hard to find some smart and tasty options. Most of the brands recommended toasting for best taste –this was definitely the preferable way for just about all of the options. 
Posted 8/1/2012  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 24 comments   11,456 views
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Baked Potato Chips: Are They Healthy?


A health halo has been placed on baked chips while fried chips have been getting a bad rap. But are you really making a healthy choice when you toss a bag of baked chips into your shopping cart? Let’s take a closer look.

Posted 7/25/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 33 comments   17,766 views
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Does Healthy Food Cost More Than Junk Food?


Does following a healthy diet mean dishing out more dough? Not necessarily. A new study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that healthy food isn’t any more expensive than junk food.

The Studies

With more than one-third of U.S. adults being overweight and a push from the Obama administration to fight rising obesity levels, this new study sheds light on budgetary concerns when it comes to healthy eating. 

Previous studies were highly criticized for comparing the cost of food per calorie. These studies found that pastries and chips and cheaper than fruit and veggies. The newest study conducted by the Agricultural Department compared cost of foods by weight or portion size which reveals that grains, veggies, fruit and dairy foods are less costly than most meats or foods high in added sugar, salt, or artery-clogging saturated fat. The study found that carrots, banana, lettuce and pinto beans were all cheaper per portion than soda, ice cream, ground beef or French fries.
Posted 7/18/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 42 comments   18,007 views
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5 Supermarket Shopping Secrets, Revealed


With so many choices (and temptations!), shopping at the supermarket can make your head spin. We’ll give you the inside scoop and  get you on your way to becoming a smarter shopper.

Tip #1: Shop the Perimeter
All the fresh foods — fruits, veggies, dairy and meats — are around the perimeter of the store. The milk aisle is typically placed in the far end of the store so you’ll have to walk through aisles of highly packaged processed foods to get there. And the more we see, the more we buy. If you work the outside of the store, you’ll end up filling your cart with healthier (and less-processed) choices. 
Posted 7/11/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 28 comments   19,148 views
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Have You Tried: Artichoke Hearts?


Fresh artichokes are a classic spring treat, but you can enjoy artichoke hearts all year long.

What Are Artichoke Hearts?

Buried within the rough leaves of an artichoke, is the sweet and tender “heart.” These little treasures have a buttery texture and earthy flavor that you can deepen with olive oil and garlic or liven up with a squirt of fresh lemon. You can find them bagged and frozen, canned in water or jarred, marinated in olive oil and spices. The oil-packed ones are a little higher in healthy fat but draining the oil will help save some calories. 
Posted 7/4/2012  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 40 comments   10,020 views
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Butter: Is It Healthy?


One of the most controversial debates in the nutrition world – can butter be part of a healthy diet?

Yes

There’s something deliciously simple about good old butter. It’s made from nothing but cream and salt, not the laundry list of ingredients you’ll find in tubs of butter alternatives. One tablespoon has 7-percent of your daily needs for vitamin A and even a hint (45 milligrams) of omega-3 fats.

The flavor and velvety smooth texture is second to none. Lobster rolls, croissants, fettuccini Alfredo and chocolate cake just wouldn’t be the same without at least a little. 
Posted 6/27/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 52 comments   17,955 views
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Are You Willing to Pay More for Healthy Food?


A recent study finds that Americans aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is for healthier restaurant options. Are some foods worth the extra cash?

Footing the Bill

study published in June finds that a large chunk of Americans aren’t willing to pay more for healthy foods at restaurants. The New York based marketing research firm that published the report found that approximately 70 percent of consumers over age 50 don’t expect to pay a higher price for more health-conscious menu items. The study also points out a decrease since 2007 in overall interest in seeking out healthier fare. 
Posted 6/20/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 48 comments   12,824 views
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Grocery Shopping for Healthy Cooking at Home


Between work, exercise and a busy social life, sometimes I find it difficult to prepare myself meals during the week. It’s time consuming and after a long day in meetings the last thing I want to do is cook a meal for myself. It’s usually easier to heat up a frozen meal or to stop and grab a sandwich on my way home. So what’s the problem with this?

Well I’m spending money that could be saved and I’m also not 100% sure of what additives or hidden calories are in my food. Okay and I’ll admit: I’m a firm believer that cooking at home is a creative energy that should be explored by all. 
Posted 6/13/2012  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 29 comments   14,656 views
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Have You Tried: Kefir?


A "cultured milk product" may sound foreign, but if you've ever eaten yogurt, you're closer to kefir than you thought. Find out what makes it just a little more special.

What Is Kefir?

Kefir has the mild tang of  yogurt, only with a thinner and more drinkable consistency. Plain is the traditional variety but its increasing popularity has caused manufacturers to produce flavors like cherry, strawberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pomegranate. Low-carb flavors are also available but are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.

Kefir is available in non-fat, low-fat and whole milk forms.  Brands such as Lifeway also offer frozen, scoop-able versions, with a texture similar to frozen yogurt. 
Posted 6/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 45 comments   13,015 views
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Veggie Chips: Are They Healthy?


These potato chip-alternatives have been cropping up on market shelves everywhere. But are veggie chips a healthier pick? Here's a look at the crunchy details.

YES?

Some of the more popular brands of veggie chips are much lower in sodium than traditional varieties. One ounce of Original Terra Chips contains 50 milligrams of sodium while an ounce (about 15 chips) of traditional potato chips contains over three times that amount (180 milligrams). The amount of salt, however isn't always lower in veggie chips. Some brands contain even more than potato chips and other snack foods.

Both potato and veggie chips usually contain 10 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C, but some varieties of veggie chips (like sweet potato) also contain 50 percent of your recommended amount of vitamin A. 
Posted 5/30/2012  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 22 comments   14,103 views
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9 More 'Healthy' Foods To Skip


We're saying "healthy" because there's a lot more to making nutritious choices than meets the eye. Lots of foods present themselves as healthy when they're anything but. On the other hand, eating too much of some good-for-you foods can get you into trouble, too. We started off with an original list of 9, but there are plenty more foods to watch out for.

Whole-Grain Bagels 
It's still a high-calorie bagel, even if it's made with whole-grain ingredients. Plus, some bagels advertise "whole grain," but are only made with a small fraction of whole-grain flour, so they're lacking the healthy nutrients whole grains are known for. A whole-wheat bagel on occasion is fine, but if you’re watching those calories you’re better off with a slice of bread – you'll save more than 300 calories!

High Fiber Yogurt 
Yogurt doesn't naturally contain fiber, no matter what the clever commercials say. Companies add synthetic versions that up the fiber count and these imposters don’t have the same health benefits as the good old real stuff.  
Posted 5/16/2012  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 37 comments   35,527 views
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Food Labeling 101: Understanding Label Claims


The supermarket aisles are flooded with health claims from "healthy, all-natural" frozen dinners to "cholesterol-lowering" granola bars. We're constantly getting conflicting messages on what to what to eat — from organic produce to free-range or grass-fed meat — and what to avoid — from trans fats to high fructose corn syrup. It's not surprising that most consumers are left wondering what to believe and what it all means.

When it comes to making your selection it can be simple. Leading nutritionist and author of What to Eat, Marion Nestle, Ph.D, MPH advises
"Never buy anything that has more than five ingredients, any ingredients you can't pronounce, anything artificial, with a health claim, or with a cartoon on the package."

The goal of this article is break down the information on the front of the packaging so you can make a more informed decision on the quality and content of the product you are purchasing. Words like organic and free-range may not be what you thought; can you trust these terms on labels or is it a marketing ploy? While certain labels are regulated, others are not. We have offered you a reliable list to follow when making your selections.  The outcome: more conscious food choices that will benefit your body and the planet.

Posted 5/9/2012  10:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   8,935 views
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