Healthy Gifts, Slow-cooker Recipes: Delaware Health

Health- and Wellness-Themed Gifts

If you are reading this blog, it means the Mayans’ calculations were a bit off. Happy New Year, dear readers! This is the time of year people are either playing with new holiday gifts or plotting their exchanges.  I noticed a significant trend in the health and wellness themed gifts this season and thought I would highlight a few that sold like healthy hotcakes.

  • Fitness video games. We’ve come a long way from Wii tennis. Hollywood Celebrity Trainer Harley Pasternak released his own fitness program for both the Wii and XBox 360 Kinect. Now, the rest of us non-Oscar winners can learn Pasternak’s “5-Factor” Fitness Program with choices of types of workout regimens and durations.
  • Fitness Technology. Gadgets such as Larklife, Fitbit and the Nike + FuelBand are designed to track your activity and sync the information to a comprehensive healthy living plan on your smartphone or computer. If only these gadgets could tell what food I eat so I don’t have to write it down.
  • Hot Air Popcorn Poppers. The last time I used a hot air popcorn popper, I think “Alf” was still on television. This appliance has made a total comeback.  By popping the kernels this way, you get the real deal—no preservatives like in the microwave bags and no generous helpings of butter and salt commonly found in movie theaters.  My Aunt Gail recommends the Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker.
  • Purifying Water Bottles. Camelbak’s All Clear Water Bottle actually turns water into, wait for it, water.  The bottle uses UV Technology to purify non-potable water so it’s drinkable in about a minute. Now I am looking at the water bottle I once got as a freebie and asking, “What tricks can YOU do?”

Other healthy ticket items? Deep tissue massages, running gear and gym memberships topped the list. Some of my friends received dark chocolate and red wine. As far as I am concerned, these are all the gifts that keep on giving. 


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Company Pot Roast

I could swear the person who invented the slow cooker was thinking of me during the invention process. Put ingredients in cooker and then just walk away. Low maintenance and delicious are two of my favorite adjectives.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the term “comfort food,” I immediately gain weight. Fortunately, warm comfort food in the winter months does not need to be unhealthy. Here’s a classic slow cooker recipe that Cooking Light magazine created so it hits the spot without enlarging any of your own.

Company Pot Roast
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces roast, 1 onion wedge, about 3 carrot pieces, 4 potato halves, and about 1/4 cup gravy)

   Calories: 318
   Fat: 6.8g
   Saturated fat: 1.6g
   Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
   Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
   Protein: 30.5g
   Carbohydrate: 33.1g
   Fiber: 5.2g
   Cholesterol: 40mg
   Iron: 3.9mg
   Sodium: 552mg
   Calcium: 70mg

What You Need:
   1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut in half
   1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
   2 garlic cloves, minced
   1 cup beef broth
   1 (.35-ounce) package dried morels
   1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
   3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
   2 medium onions (about 3/4 pound), quartered
   1 (16-ounce) package carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
   16 small red potatoes (about 2 pounds), halved
   1 tablespoon canola oil
   1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
   3 tablespoons water
   Rosemary sprigs (optional)

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How You Do It:
1. Combine roast, soy sauce, and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan; add mushrooms. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms through a cheesecloth-lines colander over a bowl, reserving broth mixture.
3. Remove roast from bag, reserving marinade. Sprinkle roast with pepper, gently pressing pepper into roast. Combine reserved marinade, mushroom broth mixture, and tomato paste; stir well, and set aside.
4. Place mushrooms, onion, carrot and potato in a 6-quart electric slow cooker; toss gently.
5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add roast, browning well on all sides. Place roast over vegetables in slow cooker. Pour tomato paste mixture into pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Pour tomato paste mixture over roast and vegetables. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting, and cook 8 hours or until roast is tender. Place roast and vegetables on a serving platter; keep warm. Reserve liquid in slow cooker; increase to high-heat setting.
6. Place flour in a small bowl. Gradually add water, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add flour mixture to liquid in slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Serve gravy with roast and vegetables.


Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

For vegetarians like me, this slow-cooker dish is a nice alternative to macaroni and cheese. You get flavor, vegetables and protein with just a splash of light coconut milk. I might make this recipe slowly, but I eat this dish pretty fast.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1  1/3 cups vegetable mixture and 1 lemon wedge)

   Calories: 276
   Calories from fat: 23%
   Fat: 7.2g
   Saturated fat: 1.9g
   Monounsaturated fat: 2.3g
   Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g
   Protein: 10.9g
   Carbohydrate: 44.7g
   Fiber: 10.6g
   Cholesterol: 0.0mg
   Iron: 4.3mg
   Sodium: 623mg
   Calcium: 107mg

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What You Need:
   1 tablespoon olive oil
   1  1/2 cups chopped onion
   1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
   1 tablespoon curry powder
   1 teaspoon brown sugar
   1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
   2 garlic cloves, minced
   1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
   3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
   1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
   1 cup diced green bell pepper
   1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/4 teaspoon black pepper
   1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
   1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
   1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth
   3 cups fresh baby spinach
   1 cup light coconut milk
   6 lemon wedges


How You Do It:
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
2. Add curry powder, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in chickpeas and next 8 ingredients (through broth).
4. Cover and cook on HIGH 6 hours or until vegetables are tender.
5.  Add spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Serve with lemon wedges.


Health Events

Sunday, Jan. 13
37th Icicle Ten Miler
Time  9 a.m.  (registration opens at 7:45 a.m.)                                                                                                   

Location  Central Branch YMCA, 11th & Washington streets, Wilmington
Info.  654-6400, 

Monday, Jan. 14
Blood Pressure Clinic
Time  9 a.m. to 11 a.m
Location  Bayhealth Kent General Medical Office Building, Ste. 100
Info.  No appointment necessary. 744-7135, (877) 453-7107

Thursday, Jan. 17
After Ringing the Bell: A Cancer Survivorship Conference presented by Sussex County Survivorship Co.
Location  Atlantic Sands Hotel, 101 N. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach
Time  8 a.m.
Info., 645-9150