Cold Meals for Hot Weather

July 28, 2012

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

Preparing healthy meals can be a challenge during these hot summer months.  Most people (myself included) would prefer not to heat up the kitchen, but would still like to enjoy good tasting and nutritious meals.  Grilling can certainly help keep the kitchen cool, but some days nothing beats a refreshing, cold meal.  Salads fill that role well in the summer, especially with the current trend of pairing summer-fresh fruits and vegetables with whole grains such as barley, quinoa, and wheat berries to create salads that feel like a main course.  One way of including these grains into your diet over the summer is to choose 1 or 2 days of week and cook grains; they should be refrigerated as soon as done and used within 3-4 days.  Here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you to continue preparing healthy meals throughout the summer.

Swiss Oatmeal

Serves 1

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup skim milk, 1% milk, plain soy milk or plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • ½ cup fresh fruit in bite-sized pieces or ¼ cup dried fruit
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nuts
  • Dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Mix together oats, milk and agave in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning add fruit, nuts and cinnamon.

Hummus Wrap

Serves 1

  • 1 whole grain wrap or tortilla
  • ¼ cup hummus
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup vegetables (carrot, cucumber, tomato, onion, etc…)
  • ¼ cup Tzaziki sauce (see following recipe)

Spread hummus on wrap, arrange spinach and vegetables over hummus, drizzle with Tzaziki sauce and wrap.  If you’d prefer meat, purchase a pre-cooked chicken breast, slice and use about 2 ounces in place of the hummus.

Tzaziki Sauce
Serves 8 – 10

  • ½ grated peeled English cucumber
  • 2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze the grated cucumber in a clean dish towel to remove excess moisture.  Mix cucumber and remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, place in refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

This refreshing sauce can also be used as a vegetable dip.

Olive Open Face Sandwich
Serves 1

  • 2 tablespoons Jimtown Spicy Olive Spread
  • 1 thin slice Harmons Artisan Multigrain bread
  • 1 slice Boar’s Head Creamy Havarti cheese

This sandwich is great served with seasonal fresh fruit such as the delicious local cantaloupe available now.

Chef Evan’s Chilled Cucumber Tomato Soup
Serves 4

  • 2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • ½ cup no-sodium added chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 4 ounces chevre

In a large container add all ingredients and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, puree all of the ingredients in a blender and strain to desired consistency (you can use a mesh sieve or cheesecloth in a colander for this step).  Season with salt and pepper and crumble 1 ounce of chevre onto each serving.

This delicious low-calorie soup (about 160 calories per serving) is a great way to help meet some of your vegetable needs for the day.  I’d recommend this as a side dish to be served along with a simple grain and bean salad.

Tuscan Tuna Salad
Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian flat-leaf
  • 1 12-ounce can (or two 6-ounce cans) chunk light tuna in water, drained and flaked

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl. Add beans, tomatoes and parsley and toss together. Gently stir in tuna.

And The Winner Is . . .

July 27, 2012

Last month the cheese mongers all got together and made cheese with Beehive Cheese Company. We came up with our own rubs and aged them for one month. Today we were able to taste our concoctions. Lets just say that most of them were spit out very quickly, but there were a few that made the grade. Andrew from our Orem store, his Herb De Provonce, was not bad and Marie from our City Creek store got a nod for her Cocoa rub. But, the overwhelming winner was Arjay and her Bourbon and Brown Sugar rub. Arjay is from our Bangerter Crossing store and worked really hard on her rub. The great part of all of this is that we get to sell it exclusively at Harmons thru out the holiday season. This cheese will come in in the middle of November and be around for only a few months. Can’t Wait!

Great Health Tip of the Day: Exercise for Brain Health

July 27, 2012

We often hear how exercise is beneficial in reducing the risk for heart disease, certain types of cancer and obesity.  Did you know that aerobic exercise has also been shown to be beneficial for brain health?  Studies have shown that aerobic exercise improves brain function in older adults, especially in areas such working memory, planning, and multi-tasking.  School-aged children have had few studies performed, but those studies overall showed a benefit in many cognitive areas including verbal skills, math skills and academic readiness.  Since physical activity may also reduce the risk for stroke, adding physical activity to your routine should be a priority.  Be sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Hillman CH, Erickson KI & Kramer AF.  Be smart, exercise your heart:  Exercise effects on brain and cognition.  Nature Reviews Neuroscience.  2008; 9:  58-65.

Combating Gestational Diabetes

July 25, 2012

Jessica, Pharmacy Manager

Much of the population is familiar with type I and type II diabetes, but few know of Gestational Diabetes. As suggested by its name, this diabetes concerns high blood sugar levels in pregnant women. Despite fact that it is not well known, the incidence of this disease is growing. In fact, all pregnant women between 24-32 weeks are now tested.  Although very treatable, there are risks associated with having high blood sugar while pregnant. Women suffering from Gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes later in life.  Unborn babies are also at risk.  Most recent studies indicate a significant increase in high newborn birthweight, c-section, and pre-eclampsia.

One of the best ways to prevent gestational diabetes is by eating healthy.  Don’t let those cravings take over your diet! Choose pretzels over chips – vinaigrette over ranch – fruit over ice cream. Making healthier choices will also help reduce pregnancy weight gain, and create habits that will help lose weight after childbirth. Keep yourself and your child healthy and strong by making better eating choices.

Great Health Tip of the Day: Add Fresh Herbs

July 25, 2012

Add some fresh herbs to your food today! Not only do fresh herbs add color and flavor they have health benefits as well.

Here are a few summer favorites:
• Basil: Contains many phytochemicals including flavonoids, carotenoids, and rosmarinic and caffeic acids. Diets high in the phytochemicals found in basil may reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, and age-related eye disease.
• Mint: Contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant activity. It also contains many vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, potassium and calcium. Mint may be helpful in reducing risk for heart disease and cancer and may help reduce nausea.
Parsley: One of the few foods rich in the phytochemical apigenin. It also contains many other phytochemicals, vitamin C and iron. Many of the phytochemicals in parsley have the potential to reduce the risk for cancer.

Here are some ways to add these fresh herbs:
• Sliver basil and mix into a green salad
• Add chopped mint to a fruit salad
• Add parsley to rice pilaf or potato salad

Video Demo: Showing off the Soda Stream

July 24, 2012

A little while back, Kitchenware blogger Karen introduced us to the Soda Stream. The machine is an economical way for soda drinkers to create their own soda at home in just a few easy steps. In this video Natasha from Harmons Draper demonstrates how the Soda Stream works. Fun and easy!

Protein – How much do you really need?

July 21, 2012

Jessica, Registered Dietitian

I often get asked about the necessity of using protein powder for weight loss, endurance training, weight lifting, or general exercise. Many fitness gyms and media sources highlight protein powder as something most of us should be including in our daily routine. But do we really need protein powder if we eat enough protein?

How much protein do we need every day?

Protein requirements are based on how much you weigh. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein, or the amount recommended for adults over 18 years irrespective of physical activity, is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. This is about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

However, research suggests that both strength (weight-lifting) and endurance athletes may have increased protein needs.

So for a 150-lb endurance athlete, that means about 82.5-96 grams of protein per day.

For a 150-lb strength-trained athlete, he/she could require up to 109.5-115 grams of protein.

Can you meet these requirements through food alone?

Most people should not have a problem meeting protein requirements through food alone. It’s important to realize that endurance athletes and strength-trained athletes are those who are participating in their sports frequently and at a high level of training. Those of us who run a few miles a few times a week or lift weights a couple of days each week would not require higher protein amounts. The “menu” below lists foods for each meal that add up to about 80 grams of protein.

Breakfast (21 grams protein)
1 Greek yogurt (12 grams protein)
1 cup Cheerios (3 grams protein)
¾ cup non-fat milk (6 grams protein)

Lunch (31 grams protein)
Sandwich with 2 slices of bread, 1 slice mozzarella cheese, and 3-oz turkey (31 grams protein)

Dinner (28 grams protein)
3-oz chicken breast (26 grams protein)
½ cup brown rice (2 grams)

Total Protein: 80 grams

It really wasn’t difficult to reach 80 grams of protein with common foods, and that was without including snacks!! So unless you are a serious weight-lifter who requires very large amounts of protein, you should have no problem meeting your needs without protein supplements.

Great Health Tip of the Day: Thank a Chef!

July 21, 2012

July is National Culinary Arts Month!  This month-long celebration promotes awareness of professional cooks and chefs and their contributions to new culinary trends and dining excellence.

Did you know that Harmons employs chefs in a variety of capacities, from Delicatessen to Cooking School chefs?  This is a great time to say “THANK YOU” to our team of chefs for creating our delicious chef-prepared salads, entrees, and more.

And don’t forget about our three Cooking Schools at Station Park, Bangerter Crossing, and City Creek!  Celebrate this month with a fun cooking class and enhance your skills in the kitchen!

Thank you to all of the Harmons chefs!

Measuring & Rewarding the Green Standards

July 20, 2012

Shawn, Store Green Team Captain

My name is Shawn Davis. I am the People Support Manager at Harmons District and I am also the Green Team Captain at my store.

Green Teams can be found in every Harmons. We help make sure that information and education about our Being Green program is given to all of our associates.

As part of our responsibilities, we meet once every month to talk about what’s working and what’s not when it comes to being green. We brainstorm ideas to get more of our associates to participate, to get the word out about our efforts, and review the results for how well we have done the past month for diverting waste from the landfill to a recycling facility.

One of the most important tools the Green Team has to ensure our stores are doing all we can to recycle and compost is the Green Team Audit. We split up the team into groups and each group is assigned a department or two. Once in the department, the team members physically dig through the garbage and recycle bins. It can be a yucky job sometimes, but it’s the only way to ensure we are recycling and composting properly. Each department gets a grade and the store as a whole gets an average grade.

The Green Team Audits let us know which departments need more help to recycle and compost. They also can help encourage departments to do better by setting goals to reach for the A grade. We can even challenge departments to compete to see who can recycle better at the next audit. Can you imagine a Bakery and Delicatessen trying to out-recycle one another?

At the meetings held at District, we always end by conducting our R-Card Drawing. R-Cards are given to those associates who are caught “Being Green” by recycling, composting, turning off lights, doing the dishes, and other helpful Being Green initiatives. The associate who received the R-Card wins $25.00 and the manager or Green Team Member who gave the card receives $5.00. It’s one of the ways we can thank associates for helping Harmons be the best at getting better when it comes to Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.

Congratulations Chef Adalberto Diaz – National Pastry Chef of the Year

July 19, 2012

Chef Adalberto and assistant Lyn Wells celebrate the announcement of Pastry Chef of the Year

After months of preparation and practice, two and a half hours of an emotional competition, and two days of waiting, Chef Adalberto Diaz was named the American Culinary Federation’s Pastry Chef of the Year on Tuesday evening in Orlando, Florida. Chef Al’s cold contemporary plated dessert, hot restaurant style dessert, and two foot tall showpiece with an Avatar theme wowed the judges and earned him the prestigious title. Chef Al and his assistant Lyn Wells, a culinary student at Utah Valley University, did an amazing job at representing Harmons, UVU, Salt Lake City, and the entire state of Utah. Chef Al is the first Utah chef to achieve the recognition of ACF National Pastry Chef of the Year

During the competition Chef Al assembled his showpiece behind the cover of a well positioned refrigerator as to not tip off his competitions to what he was creating. His strategy was cleaver, but it kept Harmons CFO John Ward from getting shots of his creation in the building stages. We will share with you more photos and video of the competition as we receive them from the American Culinary Federation.

Some special guests in the audience were Chef Al’s mother, two aunts, four brothers, and a cousin. He had not seen his family in 12 years, so their presence and support was extra special and motivational.

Congratulations Chef Adalberto on a recognition well earned and deserved!

Here is video from ACF about the candidates, including the finished showpiece of each.

Here are some pictures taken before, during, and after the competition.