in my cupboard: jalfreezi sauce

As much as I love spending time in the kitchen, sometimes it just isn’t feasible. We all have the nights when spending an hour to make dinner is just not an option. One of my favorite “after soccer, before next activity meals”  growing up was tortellini with pesto. My Mom always makes batches of pesto when the basil is blooming and then freezes it to use throughout the year. I have very fond memories of those rushed, but always finding time to eat as a family, meals.

Unfortunately I don’t have any home-made pesto to toss with tortellini, but I have something that comes pretty close, with an ethnic twist. Jalfreezi Simmer Sauce makes dinner taste like it’s been simmering away for hours, instead of minutes. When served with some naan, brown rice and tofu, you can almost pretend that you are at your favorite Indian joint.

The sauce is delicious and the ingredient list is real. Does it get any better than that? I’ve had pre-made sauces in the past and was never thrilled, but this I can say will be making it to my pantry again.

The Makings of a fast, delicious Indian meal at home:

What is your go-to quick meal?

asparagus with feta

I’m convinced that I could eat asparagus every single day – I love it that much. Usually, a bit of olive oil, garlic and salt is all it needs, but I do appreciate pairing it with some salty cheese every now and then. This most recent side dish used feta and it went perfectly with some grilled salmon.

I’ve never quite understood how people can claim to not like vegetables, but I’m fairly certain it’s just because they haven’t had veggies prepared correctly…they don’t know what they are missing!

Grilled Asparagus with Feta - 2 servings

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • salt & pepper

Heat grill to medium. Season asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill for about 10 minutes, depending on size. Cut into thirds and crumble feta cheese over top.

jam & shortbread cookies

I generally don’t mess with recipes if it involves flour and baking. I’ve had some baking disasters and have learned my lesson on one too many occasions so I’m not sure why I was feeling so bold, but I took liberty with changing a number of things with this Rachael recipe. Thankfully, I can report back that it turned out perfectly.

I’m so glad that I made them into cookies instead of bars; I plan on giving them away this weekend to a very special Mother and I think the round shape looks much sweeter than a bar.

And being in the bakery field, I know the importance of quality control, so I made sure they tasted ok ;)

Jam & Shortbread Cookies - adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine – makes 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pan with liners. Using a food processor, mix flours, almonds, sugars, baking soda and salt until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Beat egg and vanilla in medium bowl. Pour over dough mixture and place dough and egg mixture back in bowl. Knead with your fingers until clumpy.

Add about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough mixture into the baking cups, pressing with fingers to form a crust. Drizzle with 1 tsp jam, heating the jam in microwave for about 15 seconds to melt if necessary. Top with 1 Tbsp crumbles. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

ask the nutritionist: low glycemic food

Low-glycemic foods. We see it all the time – in diet plans, on protein bars, breads, etc. but what does it mean?

The glycemic index describes how a carbohydrate affects your blood sugar.  A high glycemic food increases your blood sugar much faster than a low glycemic food.

The glycemic load describes the glycemic index and the quantity of carbohydrate – for example, the glycemic index of watermelon is: 72 (considered high) but the glycemic load for one serving of watermelon is: 1.5 (considered low) because it takes into account serving size.

Why do we care?

People who have diabetes need to be aware of their blood sugar because their bodies aren’t able to regulate it on their own and so they have to take insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. But it is not just those with diabetes who should care. When we eat a high-glycemic meal, it increases our blood sugar, which then increases insulin to turn the sugars into energy. If there is too much “energy” (sugar) to use, it will be stored as fat. The spike in sugar and subsequent crash also makes us feel hungry faster. Doesn’t sound good, does it?

A low glycemic meal releases the sugar into our bodies at a steadier, slower rate, which means insulin is secreted at a slower rate and we are more likely to use it right away as energy. It also keeps us full longer because there isn’t such a spike/crash.

Benefits of Low-Glycemic Foods:

  • help regulate fluctuation of insulin and blood sugar
  • help keep you full longer
  • improve diabetes control
  • can reduce the risk of heart disease
  • can reduce cholesterol levels
  • can help to control weight


Medium/Low-Glycemic Foods:

  • Whole Grains: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, rye bread
  • Fruit: oranges, pears, apples
  • Vegetables (except potatoes)
  • Dairy/milk
  • Beans: lentils, kidney beans, etc.
  • Nuts

These same foods keep showing up time and time again for a healthy diet, don’t they?