Sunday, December 18, 2011

sweet potato recipes

Thanksgiving usually marks the end of my yearly fall fanaticism, and the beginning of the inevitable resignation to winter that goes into full-swing after the New Years. I’m no longer obsessed with the myriad of fall flavors, its squashes and medium-body soups and wines, I just want to stay warm. I hibernate, so to speak. I start cooking meals at home with more regularity; I find excuses to stay in.

After all of the holiday buzz this curried lentil and sweet potato dish landed exactly on that bridge, a lazy Sunday after a flurry of a holiday weekend. It’s from the New York Times Thanksgiving coverage two weeks ago, from an article by Melissa Clark about vegetarian dishes fitting the meal. But really, it had my name all over it, because the sweet potatoes were made spicy, not saccharine, and the Indian-spiced lentils and greens were exactly the health kick I needed after this weekend of heavy intake, with the ease of a one-pot meal. I don’t need a holiday dinner to find an excuse to make it.

sweet potatoes

I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in an ugliest gourmet contest, but as Cathy so aptly notes, the best home-cooked food is rarely ready for its close-up. Honestly, it was so good, we couldn’t have cared less.

curried lentils with sweet potatoes

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard
Adapted from The New York Times 11/14/07

Yields 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.source

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Treadmill Vs Elliptical Trainer? Which Will Give You The Best Results?

Our society is a little fanatical about loosing fat and getting fit. To encash this opportunity, a number of fitness products are there in the market and all of them claim to be the best. But most of them have no consistency. For instance, how many people you find working with a Thigh Master today. However, every now and then you can find a machine that yields results. It provides you with fitness and keeps you being well at the same time. It is equally effective for a novice and for an expert user of it as well. It has an everlasting power!

Treadmills and Elliptical Trainers are the two machines that can be attributed with this type of adjective.A tested and genuine treadmill will be with you for years. The reason for its popularity lies in its adoptability in the same way with a novice as well as with an expert athlete. You don't require any skill to exercise on it if you only able to walking, running or jogging.
Again, elliptical trainers, though relatively new, if we compare them with the treadmills, are briskly gaining popularity in the market. Though in actual figure of sales, treadmills outnumber the elliptical trainers but in terms of percentage growth of sales, the elliptical trainers are ahead of the treadmills. This is because the elliptical trainers benefit the whole body without any side effects.

How is treadmill compared with the elliptical trainer? What are the benefits of each of these machines? Are any of these apt for you?


Treadmills have gained highest popularity among the fitness equipments. They offer you an incredible amount of cardiovascular exercises without any expertise on it. You can walk, run, or jog on it. You can also get a simulation of hill slope on it.

Walking and running are mostly performed exercise by human beings. It does not matter if you are an amateur walker or an expert runner; a treadmill offers both of you an equal opportunity to exercise on it. The adjustment option for speed and incline make you get the most out of your cardiovascular exercises.

Almost all of the treadmills offer you a variety of pre-scheduled programs and the levels of intensity of exercises that you can choose for yourself as per your requirement. You may get personal information programmed on it like your age, your height, the fitness level etc. Again, you can select one of the pre-scheduled programs like 'killer hill', 'interval training' or 'weight-loss', and your machine will adjust the workouts automatically as per your specifications.

Alternatively, you can even avoid the pre-scheduled programs and get the programs of your choice by manually scheduling them. But if you already have chosen a program that is pre-scheduled, you can still change the level of incline or speed at your choice.

On a well-cushioned treadmill you can run safely without getting injured of your joints of knees or shins or ankles or back which is imminent if you run on concrete pavements. Consequently, there is less possibility of getting your body parts damaged on treadmills than on concrete surfaces. (Nevertheless, you can still feel an impact as soon as you start running on the treadmill).

In outdoors, you may have been tripped over a pebble or your ankle may be twisted by unseen potholes. It is sure that no hole or trail is there on the treadmills. Just maintain the rhythm on the track.

Therefore, treadmills are efficient calorie destroyer without sustaining injuries.

Elliptical Trainers

Elliptical trainer is a new comer in the world of fitness equipment providers. In fact, the popularity of the elliptical trainers has increased in the recent years but it has already surpassed the treadmills in terms of growth rate. But the question is that if they actually provide what they assure you of - overall exercise for your body with low impact?

Elliptical trainers offer you to destroy same amount of your body fats as is done by walking or jogging, with the least possibility of injury of your knees and ankles or hips or back. If you are using an elliptical trainer, your feet will always be on foot pedals and this is its difference with a treadmill.

Consequently, the elliptical trainers exert less pressure on the joints of your body and thus prove to be a low-impact fitness equipment. We can put it in this way that when you walk or jog on a treadmill, your body has to withstand the impact of the exercises; but when you are doing the same things on an elliptical trainer, you feel as if you are walking or jogging in midair. The impact may be equals to 2.5 times of your body weight as for the treadmill.

Hence, an elliptical trainer, since it is a low impact equipment, is highly preferred by older people and those who are just recovering from their injuries or illness. This is the reason why elliptical trainers are so popular among us. Our joints have started replying us that they have enough of these.

An elliptical trainer imitates the elliptical motions of our foot, expansion of our legs and rotation of our hips as we walk or run on it. All of our legs muscles are engaged and we get a complete lower-body exercise.

The most lucrative part of the exercises on an elliptical trainer is that it also provides upper body exercises whereas you only get lower body exercises in case of a treadmill. When your feet move elliptically, your arms also get workout through the handgrips of the handlebars which are on the move. The dual handlebars imitate the movement of the cross-country skiing. But this upper body exercise don't allow you to form a physique like a bodybuilder. You actually get the exercises more efficiently in less time as 30% of your upper body also comes under exercise automatically.

Your heart rate increases more swiftly because your exercises involve both your upper and lower body. Hence, you could achieve more results in less time. There is optimum energy expansion too. When your legs are put into the work it automatically puts your shoulders, chest, back, biceps and triceps into the work as well by enhancing the chance of burning more fats in less time. (When you deploy a right quantity of resistance, a 20-30 minutes' exercise is an optimum duration for it.)

The foot pedals work in both, forward and backward, directions and this is also a great advantage of an elliptical trainer. Now, each time you change the direction, you actually target the lower parts of your body differently. It adds versatility to the elliptical exercises. This type of change also provides effective exercises to the leg muscles.

The level of intensity is adjustable for an elliptical trainer to accommodate the level of fitness of different individuals. You can also add the resistance to enhance the load of the exercise for your legs by the back and forth strides. These effective exercises can ward off the evils for your body like the fleshy parts and large bumps.

Studies reveal that while exercising on the elliptical trainer, it makes your body believe that it is working out easily though, in fact, it is not. In this way you are shedding off more calories in much less time but your body is happy to find that it does not require to take much load to achieve it. This is what we call "Rate of Perceived Exertion".

The elliptical trainers are very safe (for example, when you stop, it comes to stop also). It consumes less electricity and can be used economically. Due to the feature of low impact, its rate of depreciation and maintenance are also low. It occupies less space than other does as the footprint it has is small. Then, like a treadmill, it provides you with an environment which is controlled and convenience for your exercises.

And the Winner Is!

Is it a treadmill or is it an elliptical trainer, which one scores more? Both can provide you with best cardiovascular exercises and both of them are efficient in burning calories.

One who loves only to walk or run, a treadmill is the right answer for him. Though you like the outdoors, treadmills offer your favorite sports right at home through out the year even during the coolest weather. It does not allow injuries because it has a flat and padded surface to work out. It adds a number of challenging programs to your exercise schedule. Then, with a heart beat rating monitor, you can set the level of your exercise that your heart can sustain.

An elliptical trainer offers a combined workout for both the upper and the lower part of your body without high impact. You can give your muscles a good number of exercises without making them injured. People who have their knees and ankles almost exhausted, they are positively to try the elliptical trainers.

So, what is your choice? As per your needs and preference, any one between them is the right choice for you.

By: Walter Sigmore
Article Directory:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Green Bean Casserole recipe

Green Bean Casserole recipe's

3 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
Kosher salt, to taste
2 lbs. green beans, cut into 2" pieces
Canola oil
1 1?4 cups flour
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
5 tbsp. butter
1?3 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring stock to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat; add mushrooms. Cover; let soften for 20 minutes. Strain; reserve broth. Thinly slice mushrooms; set aside. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans; cook until tender, 6–7 minutes. Chill beans in an ice bath; drain and pat dry.
2. Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of 2". Heat over medium-high heat until oil registers 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. Put 1 cup flour into a bowl. Working in batches, toss onions in flour; shake off excess and fry until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and season with salt.
3. Heat oven to 375°. Grease an 8" × 8" casserole with 1 tbsp. butter; set aside. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining flour; cook for 1 minute. Pour in reserved broth while whisking; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 15–20 minutes. Whisk in cream and combine with beans, half the onions, reserved mushrooms, and salt and pepper in a bowl; transfer to casserole. Top with remaining onions; bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
(This recipe has been corrected since publication.)