One of the questions I'm often asked is
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“How do you calculate the nutritional information of the recipes you post?”
Today I have a process that works well, although getting here wasn't nearly as painless as I thought it would be.
My quest began as most do, I googled “Nutritional information for a recipe” and was met with a long list of results. A few of the more popular websites seemed to hold promise: calorie-count, My Fitness Pal, SparkPeople, and fit watch. Also included were smartphone apps and several desktop programs such as living cookbook and master cook.
Excited to get started, I began with the first on the list
“Hummm .. this site doesn't know about coconut sugar?” Maybe the next one will
“Boy, it sure is hard to find what I'm looking for” Next
“I have to sign up for a paid plan if I'd like to save the recipe or have its percentages calculated?” Shoot
With utopia proving just beyond reach, I began entering the recipes manually into a spreadsheet using information from the USDA's website. A process that I perfected over the next six months until a friend told me about the site I've come to love and use in my every day, Livestrong's MyDailyPlate.
Their interface is free, easy to use, with a large database of foods (for those that aren't in the system, it's a simple process to have them added), and the site will calculate the information I need on a per recipe or per-serving basis. If you're searching for a solution, I will encourage you to give it a try.
For those familiar with The Veggies, you know I typically focus on just a few metrics, calories per serving as well as the percentages of proteins, carbs, and fats. So it seemed a fitting topic this evening, as textbooks for my next course on Macronutrients cover my desk, the beginning of a deeper study into these important carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and how they provide calories for our bodies.
(much more to come .. )
Amongst the textbooks is a bowl of Brunswick stew, along with crumbs from a warm wedge of cornbread. A favorite meal from last week's trip to South Carolina.
If you live in Charleston, it's safe to assume you've heard of the Tattooed Moose and the Duck Club sandwich that helped make it famous. If you don't, perhaps you've seen it featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. No matter if you've heard of it or not, without question, it should be added to your list of places to visit.
At nine o'clock last Monday night, airport weary, hungry and tired, we found ourselves occupying two stools at the end of this neighborhood dive bar. My husband sipped local beers in between bites of the Lowcountry Cuban, while I simply couldn't resist a glass of champagne alongside the Brunswick stew.
Maybe it was the time and place, perhaps it was the stew, but I found myself thinking about it for the rest of the trip.
Brunswick stew is a traditional southern meal. It's typically a thick, tomato-based stew, with various types of beans, corn, and other veggies, in addition to one or more kinds of meat. Most recipes claiming authenticity call for squirrel, opossum or rabbit, at our house chicken, bbq pork, and beef seemed a much happier combination.
The stew recipe I started with had so many rave reviews; I'd encourage you to check out the original from the link below. There are lots of great suggestions from people who've added their signature spin.
Last but certainly not least, a note about the cornbread. Whether or not you're following a gluten-free diet, this recipe is definitely worth trying. It's moist, flavorful, and absolutely wonderful. If you don't dip it in your stew, have it on the side with the slightest drizzle of honey.
ps: If you'd like to read more about the colorful southern history of Brunswick Stew .. here, here, or here
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~ Adapted from AllRecipes
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 olive oil, divided
- 1 ½ lb stew meat, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ lb shredded bbq pork
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
- 4 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup hickory flavored BBQ sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 - 4 generous shakes of Chipotle tobacco sauce (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
- 2 (14.5 oz) can cream-style corn
- 1 ½ cups frozen corn
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen Lima beans
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, brown the stew meat in a Tbsp of olive oil. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add a Tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onions and celery until soft. Add the pork and browned stew meat, and cook until the mix is evenly warmed through. Don't drain.
- Transfer the pork and beef mix to a large stockpot over low heat. Stir in the shredded chicken, tomatoes and their liquid, chicken stock, ketchup, and BBQ sauce.
- Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
- Add the whole green pepper into the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 hours, or until the stew has thickened.
- Stir the cream-style and frozen corn, along with the Lima beans, into the stew and continue cooking another hour, or until it's reached the desired consistency.
- Remove the green pepper, chop and return to the stew or discard
~ Adapted from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal, coarsely ground
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg, beaten (large or XL)
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted, but not hot
- 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt (or buttermilk)
- ¼ cup honey
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Prepare your cooking vessel. (I've had good luck with a 10" cast iron skillet, 2 6" cast iron skillets, or an 8 x 8" square pan)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients
- In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients until they're well combined
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. It will be relatively thin (thinner if using buttermilk).
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes (a little longer if not using a cast iron skillet), or lightly golden brown on top and around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
- Slice and serve immediately (it's best when warm and drizzled with a bit of honey)