One of the questions
I'm often asked is ..
“How do you calculate the nutritional information of the recipes you post?”
Today I have a process that works really well .. though 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: caloriecount .. myfitnesspal .. sparkpeople .. and fitwatch. Also included were smart phone apps .. and a number of desktop programs such as livingcookbook 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 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 everyday .. 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'd 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. The Chef sipped local beers in between bites of the LowCountry Cuban .. while I simply couldn't resist a glass of champagne along side the Brunswick stew.
Maybe it was the time and place .. maybe it really was the stew .. but I found myself thinking about it 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.
~ Adapted from AllRecipes .. here
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 olive oil, divided
- 1½ pounds stew meat, cut into small pieces
- 1½ pounds 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 or 4 generous shakes of chipotle tobacco sauce (** more or less to taste)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans cream style corn
- 1½ cups frozen corn
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen lima beans
- 1 green bell pepper
- 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 stock pot 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 a desired consistency.
- Removed the green pepper, chop and return to the stew or discard
% Protein: 22
% Carbs: 35
% Fat: 35
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal (coarsely ground)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 XL egg, beaten
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1½ cups greek yogurt (** Note: buttermilk also works well)
- 4 Tbsp honey
- Preheat oven to 400
- Prepare you cooking vessel .. I've had good luck with a 10" cast iron skillet .. 2 6" cast iron skillets .. or an 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 server immediately (it's best when warm & drizzled with a bit of honey)
% Protein: 16
% Carbs: 61
% Fat: 3