Tag Archives: how to cook

How to Cook with Black Beans

Black beans might be a pantry staple in your kitchen, but how often do you use them creatively? Aren’t they usually just a meager side dish or recipe afterthought? Well leave that mentality behind as we’re about to unveil not only the amazing health benefits of this powerhouse legume, but also share five healthy recipes you can try to branch out and start using black beans more adventurously. 

Health benefits: Black beans are an incredibly complex little legume that provide tons of protein, fiber and other nutrients while still remaining low in fat and considerably low in calories. They’re also high in iron, calcium, vitamin B and folic acid, and the minerals magnesium, phosphorous and manganese.

Because of their high fiber content – nearly 15 grams in one cup – they’re great for promoting healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Beyond their vitamin and mineral perks, black beans have also been found to lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. And because they contain phytochemicals – one of the powerful elements in antioxidants – black beans have also been found to fight chronic diseases and even cancer. (more…)

How to Cook with Coffee

Every time summer rolls around, I start craving coffee. And not just any kind of coffee: iced coffee, coffee ice cream, coffee shakes; anything that’s cold, sweet and caffeine-jolted does the trick. Because when the heat rises, I rely on my cup of joe not just for a perk, but also to cool me down. 

Still riding the wake of the first day of summer, we found no other time more appropriate than now to dive into this American favorite and find out just how healthy it really is for us, as well as how we can utilize it more adventurously in the kitchen.

What is coffee? For starters, coffee comes from an evergreen-like bush or tree that produces a coffee cherry, which typically holds two halves or ‘beans’ as we refer to them. However, sometimes a cherry only produces one bean, and when this happens the bean is known as a ‘peaberry.’ Peaberries are very rare and take on a unique flavor. (more…)

How to Cook with Coconut

I used to be terrified of coconut. True story. As a child, if I was handed an Almond Joy at Halloween, I’d chuck it out immediately like it was diseased. If a cake was covered in the snow-like flakes, I’d turn and sprint the other direction. Putting coconut on something was the fastest way to make me hate it.

But as with almonds, I grew to like it along with the many other foods my juvenile palette didn’t appreciate.

What is coconut? Coconut is simply the fruit of palm trees that grow in tropical climates. Shredded coconut is the broken down kernel of the coconut fruit, known as the copra. Despite what some may think, dried coconut still contains all of the fiber and nutrients found in its raw and fresh form, and is typically much easier to cook with. (more…)

How to Cook with Almonds

When I was little, I used to sit by my dad while watching TV and he’d always be crunching away on handfuls of raw almonds. I’d asked for one or two every once in a while out of curiosity, and remember never liking the things. Their bland taste just did me wrong. It would literally take me one full minute to gnaw on a single almond before getting it down. 

But these days it’s a whole other story. I eat almonds on a daily basis and have for years. I love their texture, earthy flavor, health benefits and how versatile they are. Almonds are not only delicious, but they’re also a great food for dieters as they’re a good source of protein which can help squelch hunger.

What are almonds? Almonds are the seed of the almond tree, which is native to the Middle East and South Asia. The seed or “nut” portion of the almond is what we actually consume, while the outer hull is removed before packaging. (more…)

How to Cook with Strawberries

Strawberries have always been one of my favorite fruits, not just for their fun shape and bright color, but also because they’re incredibly healthy and low in calories. 

In my house we probably go through one to two pints of strawberries every week, especially during the summer months. One of my favorite ways to eat this gorgeous berry is adding a big handful of them frozen into my morning smoothies for a quick and easy breakfast. But you really can’t go wrong whichever way you enjoy them most.

Health benefits: Strawberries are packed with tons of healthy nutrients while still remaining surprisingly low in calories, making them an ideal snack or vibrant addition to a variety of meals. One, one cup serving of strawberries contains more than 160 percent of the daily recommended requirement of vitamin C, and they’re also high in folate, potassium, calcium and iron. In terms of fiber, each serving contains approximately three grams, which we all know is important for proper digestion. And strawberries are also high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which have both been found to help prevent cancer.

Nutritional statistics: One cup of halved strawberries contains approximately 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

Cooking Methods: Strawberries are quite versatile and can be used in an almost endless variety of dishes – both savory and sweet. Slice them up in salads, eat them whole, dip them in chocolate, add them to smoothies, roast them to add to sweet and savory dishes, and even add them to pizza! Check out our recipes below for some great ideas on how to cook with this delicious and versatile red fruit.


Sunflower Strawberry Salad

Strawberry Rice Krispie Cupcake Treats 

Savory Strawberry Pizza

Strawberry Salsa 

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake 

All that’s left to do now is make a trip to your local grocery store or farmers market and pick up a few pints of this fantastic red fruit. And don’t be afraid to get a little adventurous with them in the kitchen. Who knows, maybe savory strawberry pizza will be a new favorite in your home!

Also Read:

How to Cook with Chocolate

How to Cook with Real Food: Joining the Real Food Revolution

As part of our weekly cooking series, we’re doing a special feature today on how to cook with real food, in celebration of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day.

The idea is simple: Put away the fake ingredients and pre-made mixes and sauces and cook with real food for better health.

This idea is being brought to American dinner tables and school cafeterias by one seriously-determined British chef – Jamie Oliver. Oliver has started a movement both stateside and in Britain called the Food Revolution, which aims to get back to real, quality food, and move away from the high-fat, sugar-laden processed foods most Americans are eating today.

For a better sense of how Oliver views healthy eating, here is his food philosophy as stated on his website. (more…)

How to Cook with Bok Choy

Before the name makes you run in fear, hear us out. Bok choy is a nutritious little cruciferous vegetable that deserves a second look, and an addition to your favorite meals. It takes on the flavors of just about any dish and is also incredibly healthy. Consider this your bok-choy guide, and be sure to check out the tasty recipes at the end of the post to give this tasty veggie a go.

What is bok choy? Bok choy is a leafy Chinese cabbage that’s especially common in China, the Phillipines, and Vietnam. But it’s also become popular in other regions and stateside as well. It’s of the brassica family and is known for its sweet, nutrition-packed stalks. Bok choy can resemble collards and even cabbage, and grows upright from the ground. It’s also commonly referred to pak choi, pet say, white celery mustard, or Chinese white cabbage.

Health benefits: While bok choy is low in calories, it’s incredibly high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and vitamin B6. It also contains several carotenoids, including beta carotene which is extremely beneficial for eye health. Bok choy is also high in dietary fiber, low in sodium and a good source of calcium and potassium. (more…)

How to Cook with Chocolate

Chocolate is one of my very favorite foods. Chocolate ice cream, truffles, dark chocolate bars – I love it in all forms. And contrary to what some might think, chocolate is actually very healthy – that is, when eaten in the right forms and in moderate amounts.

After all, not all chocolate is created equal – you won’t reap the same health benefits from a Mars Bar that you would from a few squares of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. So before you consider this article a license to go on an all-out candy binge, know the facts first and then proceed with your chocolate-loving habits.

What is chocolate? First, the egg before the chicken. Chocolate is derived from cocao beans, which are the seeds of the fruit from the cacao tree. The Aztecs were thought hold the cocoa bean in high value and even used it as currency. (more…)

How to Cook with Chia Seeds

Chia seeds might not like much when you pick them up, but inside the walls of these tiny little black seeds lies a near infinite amount of nutrients.

After discovering chia seeds myself last year, I began adding them to all kinds of dishes – like oatmeal and smoothies – and have been reaping a bounty of health benefits ever since.

If you’ve never heard of the chia seed, you’re in luck as we’re unveiling everything you need to know about this curious little seed, including its health benefits, nutritional information, how it can be prepared, as well as several healthy recipes.

What is the chia seed? Ever heard of the popular terra-cotta Chia Pet from the 90s? Then you’ve heard of chia seeds, which were the seed behind the fuzzy green-headed plants. The chia plant is in the mint family – although the two look nothing alike – and is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds can be eaten raw, soaked, and incorporated into recipes in a variety of different ways. They pack so many vitamins and nutrients that they’ve practically been placed in a superfood category of their own. (more…)

How to Cook with Flaxseed

Flaxseed is one of my very favorite foods, and ironically enough, one of my husband’s least favorite foods. I think he’s afraid of its nutritional superpowers. But for me, it’s one of the few foods I can’t do without and even travel with as it keeps me well, regular.

With flaxseed’s tremendously high fiber content it keeps my body running like a well oil machine when I’m incorporating it into my diet along with other healthy foods and plenty of water.

What is flaxseed? It’s estimated that flaxseed, much like chia seeds, have been cultivated for thousands of years, originating in Babylon. They’re a tiny little seed that comes from the flaxseed plant, which when in full bloom produces a beautiful, bright purple flower. Flaxseed can be consumed as a whole seed, milled seed, or extracted oil.

Health benefits: First and foremost, flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. But they are also high in omega-3 fatty acids – or ‘good fats’ –  that contain phytoestrogens. These anti-inflammatory omega-3s have been shown to help boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clots, increase “good” HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, and protect arteries from plaque buildup. Flaxseed also contains lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, and also promote regular digestion and have been shown to help prevent breast cancer.  (more…)