Soy—Sifting Through the Controversy

April 19, 2014

SoyHow much have you heard about health benefits or risks of eating soy foods?  Maybe your doctor has advised you to include soy foods in your diet for heart health or to eliminate them to reduce breast cancer risk.  Or maybe even include them to reduce breast cancer risk.  So wait, is it healthy or harmful?  I was pretty confused about soy foods myself before I became a dietitian (and for a time after!), so hopefully I can help you clear up the confusion.

Soy is a plant-based source of protein and it’s a complete protein at that (which means it contains all the essential amino acids needed by our bodies in the correct proportions).  In addition to protein, soy provides fiber, potassium, essential fatty acids, folate, other vitamins and minerals, and isoflavones.  It’s the isoflavones that seem to cause many soy-skeptics the most concern.


Soy Foods and Breast Cancer Risk

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, which are chemically similar to estrogen.  Two major types of isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, can act like estrogen in the body, but at a much lower level of potency than free circulating estrogen in women.  So if these isoflavones act like estrogen, you would imagine that soy could increase your risk of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer (this is one type of breast cancer which is spurred on by the binding of estrogen to breast receptors for the hormone).  In some studies with laboratory animals, rats injected with ER-positive tumor cells that were given the highest amounts of isoflavones had the greatest growth of tumor cells.  BUT, that isn’t the case in all animal studies. 

When analyzing epidemiological studies in which women were asked about their normal diets and followed over many years, researchers have found either no association between soy food consumption and breast cancer, or a protective association (women who reported eating more soy foods had lower rates of breast cancer).  Keep in mind these studies focused on whole soy foods in the diet, not soy supplements.  More research is needed to understand the benefits or risks of isolated soy compounds like those found in soy protein supplements or foods with high amounts of soy protein isolate (like some nutrition bars).

What about women who are ER-positive breast cancer survivors?  Various research studies have found no harmful effects to eating soy foods for breast cancer survivors.  How can isoflavones, which mimic estrogen, NOT have a negative effect on women who have a history of ER-positive cancer?  Researchers aren’t sure of the exact mechanisms, but isoflavones also have anti-estrogen properties, which means they can block stronger natural estrogens from binding to the breast receptors. 


Soy Foods and Heart Health

Soy and heart health is one of the most researched of all soy/health links.  Studies show that soy foods can help reduce total and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.  The link is so strong that the FDA authorized the following food-labeling health claim: “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of (name of food) provides ____ grams of soy protein.” 


The Bottom Line: 

To reap the health benefits of soy without the (possible) risk, enjoy soy foods and pass on soy supplements or isolated soy compounds.


Easy Soy Food Additions

  • Add edamame or tofu to your next stir fry or fried rice
  • Make your next smoothie with soy milk or silken tofu
  • Try edamame hummus—make your own or try Eat Well Enjoy Life
  • Munch on soy nuts or dried edamame for a snack
  • Swap soy crumbles for some or all ground beef in pasta sauce or chili


Ask A Chef: Easter Dinner

April 18, 2014

Easter_Dinner_500X500Every week one of our chefs answers your toughest culinary questions on KSL’s Ask a Chef. Email your questions to

One of the best parts about Easter (beside all of the candy and Easter egg hunts of course) is sitting down to a beautiful Ham dinner with your loved ones. Baked ham is a delicious Easter classic and is tasty served warm or cold. It is also surprisingly easy to prepare. Try this recipe for a perfect baked ham:



Easter Dinner
Baked Ham, Roasted Fingerlings and Green Beans with Honey Bacon Dressing
Baked Ham
  1. 1 (12 pound) bone-in ham, rump portion
  2. 1/2 cup whole cloves
  3. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 4 cups water, or as needed
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. 2. Place ham in a roasting pan and press whole cloves into the top at 1 to 2 inch intervals.
  3. 3. Pack top of ham with a layer of brown sugar.
  4. 4. Pour enough water into the bottom of the roasting pan to come to 1 inch depth.
  5. 5. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or id.
  6. 6. Bake for 4 ½ to 5 hours (about 22 minutes per pound), or until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 160°.
  7. 7. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Roasted Fingerlings and Green Beans with Honey Bacon Dressing
  1. Every Easter ham needs the perfect side dish. Au gratin potatoes are a great option. To mix things up, try this twist on potatoes and green beans.
  2. 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  4. 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  5. 3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper, divided
  6. 1/2 pound tiny green beans (haricots verts)
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Cut fingerlings in half lengthwise, and place in a large bowl.
  3. 3. Toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  4. 4. Place potato halves, cut sides up, in a sheet pan.
  5. 5. Toss green beans with remaining 1/2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and place onto another sheet pan.
  6. 6. Bake potatoes at 425° for 30 to 32 minutes or until tender and browned.
  7. 7. Remove from oven, and let potatoes stand.
  8. 8. At the same time bake the green beans for 12 minutes.
  9. 9. Arrange green beans around roasted potatoes on a serving platter.
  10. 10. Drizzle with Honey Bacon Dressing.
Honey Bacon Dressing
  1. 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  2. ½ cup honey
  3. ½ cup vinegar
  4. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  5. 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  6. 1 tsp. lemon juice
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well combined.
  2. And for the grand finale…dessert! No Easter feast would be complete without a decadent treat. Stop by Harmons and pick up something sweet from our bakery. From fresh fruit tarts and amazing pies, to strawberry cake, éclairs, cookies and more…we have a huge selection of Easter desserts to choose from. We also have a gorgeous selection of Easter flowers and are still taking orders for chef prepared Easter feasts. Happy Easter! Blog

Perfect Easter Baskets!

April 17, 2014

Preparing the perfect Easter basket for your loved ones can be a challenge! Stop by one of our stores and let us help you find or create the best basket.

Watch Bob Harmon and Chef Johnny McAdams talk about our incredible Easter baskets on KUTV by clicking HERE.


Make sure to add personalized marshmallow eggs to your baskets!


Let us do the work for you this year!


Recipe: Tapenade Lamb

April 17, 2014

Looking for an Easter lamb recipe? Take a look at this recipe by Chef Johnny McAdams! You can also watch him prepare this on ABC 4′s Good Morning Utah by clicking HERE.

Tapenade Lamb
A great Easter meal!
  1. 1 rack of lamb
  2. 2 C. chicken stock
  3. 2 C. cherry tomatoes
  4. 1 C. Kalamata olives
  5. 1 C. green olives
  6. 1 Tbs. garlic
  7. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  8. ½ C. goat cheese
  9. 2 Tbs. fresh parsley
  10. 2 Tbs. fresh sage
  11. 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary
  12. 2 Tbs. fresh thyme
  1. Combine all ingredients but chicken stock, tomatoes, lamb and olive oil into a food processor, then pulse 5 to 6 times so everything is roughly chopped. Turn the processor on and slowly add the olive oil. Blend the tapenade until a paste is formed.
  2. In sauté pan over medium-high heat, sear the lamb for 8 minutes then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove the lamb form the pan. Allow the lamb to cool until you can comfortably handle the rack. Cover both sides of the lamb with the tapenade. Place the tomatoes into the sauté pan and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, and then add chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Place the lamb rack back into the pan cover and place in the oven at 220 degrees for 3 to 4 hours (full rack) 2 to 3 hours (half rack). Blog

Lowering Your Risks

April 17, 2014

AmericanDiabetesAssociationThe American Diabetes Association has a new website feature that can be a great help in maintaining your health – My Health Advisor. You can discover your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke all in one place! In addition, this site will create a personal action plan to help you lower your risk. If you or a loved one are concerned about your risks associated with any of these diseases, My Heath Advisor is a great place to start.


Recipe: Easter Lamb with Red Beet & Mint Jelly

April 15, 2014

EasterRoastEaster is this Sunday and if you’re looking for some delicious ways to celebrate with your family, check out this recipe from Chef Kimberly Larsen. Watch Chef Kimberly prepare this festive Easter meal on KUTV’s Fresh from the Kitchen by clicking HERE!

AND REMEMBER… If you want to take a break from the kitchen this Easter, let us do the work for you! Order a delicious ham dinner with all the fixins’ from Harmons by clicking HERE!

Easter Lamb with Red Beet & Mint Jelly
Easter Lamb
  1. 2 lemons, zest and juice
  2. 5 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 bunch Italian parsley, minced
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  5. Kosher salt
  6. Freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, netting removed
  8. Extra netting or butchers twine
  1. 1. Heat the oven to 400°F and place rack in the middle of oven.
  2. 2. Place the lemon zest, garlic, parsley and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir and combined to make a paste.
  3. 3. Unroll the lamb, lay it flat on a cutting board.
  4. 4. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
  5. 5. Spread the lemon-garlic-parsley paste over the seasoned meat.
  6. 6. Roll the lamb back up and place extra netting over lamb or tie it in several places, about 1 to 2 inches apart, with butcher’s twine.
  7. 7. Season outside of lamb with olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the outside of the lamb and place in a shallow baking pan.
  8. 8. Roast in the oven until the internal temperature reads 135°F to 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour.
  9. 9. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. 10. Remove the twine, carve, and serve.
Red Beet & Mint Jelly
  1. 2-3 medium red beets, peel and grated
  2. 1 apple, peeled and grated
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 red chili, minced
  5. 1/2 cup apple wine vinegar
  6. 1/2 cup apple juice
  7. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  8. 1 tsp. salt
  9. 1 oz. fresh mint leaves, minced
  1. 1. Stir together red beets, apple, garlic, and chili.
  2. 2. Heat large saucepan on medium high heat.
  3. 3. Add vinegar, apple juice, sugar and salt.
  4. 4. Bring to a simmer, add beet and apple mixture, return to boil.
  5. 5. Cook for 40-45 minutes. Mixture should thicken.
  6. 6. Remove from the heat and stir in mint leaves.
  7. 7. For a smoother jelly blend with emersion blender.
  8. 8. Store in airtight container. Blog

Recipes from the What A Woman Wants Expo

April 14, 2014


Harmons had a great time this past weekend sponsoring and participating in the What a Woman Wants Expo in Salt Lake City. One of the many highlights was having Harmons Chef Kimberly Larsen at the event to share some of her expertise with everyone in attendance. By popular demand, we’ve included a link below to find the 5 recipes Chef Kimberly shared at the expo and we hope you all enjoy them!

Recipes from the What A Woman Wants Expo!



Healthy Homemade Vinaigrettes

April 14, 2014

You may not be surprised to discover that I think salads are a wonderful and quick addition to any meal (check out my previous blog for health benefits and ways to maximize nutrition for salads), as well as being a great way to use up produce.  The thing that often keeps a salad from being the healthiest option is the salad dressing, since some dressings are quite high in sodium or sugar. BalsamicVinaigretteSalad

While there are quite a few healthy and tasty salad dressing options to be found in the grocery store (look for the Dietitians Choice tags for the easiest way to identify these), I almost always make my own dressing.  I love that they are easy to make and that I can customize a dressing based on what I like (jalapeno and cilantro, anyone?) and what I feel will pair well with the particular salad I am making.  If you have looked at salad dressings in the store, you may have noticed that most of the healthy options are vinaigrettes.  I find vinaigrettes to also be the easiest salad dressings to make at home as they take very little equipment and are very forgiving.  Some basic rules for making a vinaigrette include:

  • Use 2 parts oil to one part acid (e.g. 2 tablespoons olive oil to 1 tablespoon vinegar)
  • When using a mild acid, such as orange juice or balsamic vinegar, start with one part oil to one part acid and add more oil as needed
  • Add herbs and fruit to add fresh flavor, nutrition, and reduce calories per serving  
  • Choose an oil for flavor as well as health benefits such as olive oil for monounsaturated fats, sunflower or safflower oil for vitamin E, or canola oil for Omega 3 fat

Other Uses for Vinaigrettes – Marinating vegetables prior to grilling – Adding to grain based salads – Using instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich

What is your favorite homemade salad dressing?  What other uses have you found for vinaigrettes? Looking for some recipes to start?  Check out the great recipes below provided by Harmons Cooking School Chef Kimberly Larsen. 

Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette & Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
  1. 5 fresh figs, stems removed
  2. 2 tablespoons honey wine vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  4. 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. Fresh herbs
  1. Place all ingredients except oil into blender. Blend on medium until combined and the figs are lightly pureed. With machine going, slowly pour in the olive oil just until dressing comes together (you may not need all of the olive oil).
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
  1. ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. ½ cup fresh lime juice and zest from the limes
  3. ½ bunch of cilantro
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 tablespoon honey
  6. 1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until mixture emulsifies. Blog

National Grilled Cheese Month Recipes

April 11, 2014

SweetSpicyGrilledCheeseApril is National Grilled Cheese Month and we would like to share four variations of the popular sandwich.

Watch Chef Johnny and Cheese Monger Jeremiah Stratton prepare these 4 amazing grilled cheese sandwhiches on KUTV’s Fresh Living by clicking HERE!

On Saturday, we’re celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month at Harmons City Creek with a grilled cheese special in our delicatessen. Stop by and grab a delicious sandwich for lunch!

4 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches To Die For!
Inside Out, Sweet and Spicy, Tom and Mozz, & Barbara McAdams’ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Inside Out Grilled Cheese
  1. 2 slices of bread cheese
  2. 2 slices of roasted garlic bread (crust removed)
  3. 1 Tbs. butter
  1. In small sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter until bubbly. Place 1 slice of bread cheese in the pan then the slices of garlic bread on top of the cheese. Place the 2nd slice of bread cheese and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the cheese to toast to a dark caramel color. Flip with a spatula, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the sandwich to rest for about 2 minutes before serving.
Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese
  1. 4 slices Jarlsberg cheese
  2. 4 slices Gloucester cheese
  3. 2 Tbs. jalapeno jelly
  4. 2 slices sourdough bread
  5. 1 Tbs. butter
  1. In small sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter until bubbly. Place 1 slice of bread and all of the cheese slices on the bread. Spread the jelly on the remaining slice of bread. Place the bread in the pan allow the sandwich to toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the sandwich to rest for about 2 minutes before serving.
Tom and Mozz Grilled Cheese
  1. 8 slices fresh Mozzarella
  2. 4 slices roasted garlic bread
  3. 2 Tbs. butter
  4. ½ C. cherry tomatoes (halved)
  5. ½ C. sweet onion (sliced)
  6. ¼ C. basil (chopped)
  7. ½ C. dry chardonnay
  8. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat add the olive oil, tomatoes and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the chardonnay and basil; cook until the chardonnay is evaporated. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to reduce until thick.
  2. In small sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter until bubbly. Place 1 slice of bread and all of the cheese slices on the bread. Spread half of the tomato chutney on a slice of the garlic bread, repeat for the other slice. Place the bread in the pan allow the sandwich to toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the sandwich to rest for about 2 minutes before serving.
Barbara McAdams’ Grilled Cheese
  1. 4 slices of American cheese
  2. 2 slice of cream cheese
  3. 4 slice of wheat bread
  4. 2 Tbs. grape jelly (me) or strawberry jam (my mom)
  5. 2 Tbs. butter
  1. Start by placing the cream cheese between the slices of the American cheese, 1 slice cheese then cream cheese 1 slice cheese. In small sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter until bubbly. Place 1 slice of bread and the stuffed cheese slice on the bread. Place the bread in the pan allow the sandwich to toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the sandwich to rest for about 2 minutes before serving. Spread the jam or jelly on the top of the grilled cheese and enjoy. Blog

Great Health Tip of the Day: National Garlic Month

April 10, 2014

ripe garlic fruits with green parsley leavesGarlic is often known for its pungent odor and its use in many cuisines around the world. Did you know that garlic might also provide health benefits?

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which gives garlic its distinctive odor and provides antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits. While research is mixed on the actual health benefits, there are some conditions that garlic is possibly effective for treating, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database:

  • High blood pressure—in people with high blood pressure, garlic may help reduce blood pressure by 7-8%
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
  • Colon, rectal, and stomach cancer

The National Cancer Institute does not recommend taking garlic supplements, but recognizes garlic as a vegetable that may have anticancer properties. The World Health Organization’s recommendation for general health promotion in adults is a daily dose of 2-5g of garlic, the equivalent of just one clove.

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

One of my favorite ways to use garlic is to mince garlic and mix with extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, and crushed red pepper for a great bread dip or pasta sauce.

To get the most health benefit from garlic, crush or chop 10-15 minutes before cooking it.

What is your favorite way to use garlic?

National Cancer Institute:
MedLine Plus: