I’m thinkin’ red wine !
Between the cold weather and an abundance of meal-based gatherings, holiday season can wreak havoc on your healthy habits. But it doesn’t have to, according to Sebastien Lagree, founder of Lagree Fitness and personal trainer to a long list of A-list stars, including Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian.
It’s still possible to stay on track with healthy eating and exercise goals from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Lagree told Insider, if you follow a few simple tips:
Below, you will find step-by-step detailed instructions with photos. For the full recipe card in condensed form, scroll down to the bottom of this post.
The first thing to make is the aspic, or meat gelatin, which will create the soup in the soup dumplings.
You’ll make a pork soup with bones and skin (don’t freak out at this! The Chinese—as well as all of the world’s great food cultures—have learned to utilize every part of an animal and leave nothing behind to waste!), which will help you create a smooth, firm aspic once chilled.
You can use the skin from a skin-on pork shoulder and buy pork neck bones or ham bones. If they’re not readily available in your local market, ask the butcher.
In a small pot, add the pork skin and pork bones and cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil, and immediately drain and rinse off the bones and the skin. This gets rid of any impurities.
Rinse out the pot and put everything back in. Add 4 cups (950 ml) of water along with the ginger, scallion and wine. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, turn off the heat, allow the soup to cool, and strain the liquid into a bowl. As to the leftovers in the pot, you can discard them or go the Chinese route, which would be to drizzle some light soy sauce over everything and start grazing).
Once the liquid is completely cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight.
This is what you’ll have the next day. Meat jello!
In a mixing bowl, add the flour and warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. Work and knead the dough for 15-20 minutes. The dough should be very soft and smooth. Cover with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Take your ground pork and put it in the food processor. Pulse for 30-60 seconds until the pork resembles paste. In a mixing bowl, add the pork and all the rest of the ingredients except the aspic.
Whip everything together thoroughly, for about 2 minutes. You want everything to be extremely well combined, and the pork should look like a light, airy paste. Gently fold in the diced aspic, and do not over-mix.
Cover and transfer the filling to the refrigerator until ready to make the dumplings. If you’re ready now, you can put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow it to firm up and make assembling the buns easier.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dough into a long cylinder/cigar, about an inch in diameter. Cut the dough into small equal pieces weighing about 11 grams each (the dough chunks should be a size resembling that of gnocchi).
Roll out each piece into a round disc about 3 – 3 ¼ inches diameter. Keep everything under a damp cloth.
Prepare your bamboo steamer. You can line it with cheese cloth…
…napa cabbage leaves, or these lovely bamboo steamer discs, which can be found in some Chinese restaurant supply stores (if using these, you must brush the discs with oil first!).
When all that is prepared, take out the filling. You’ll be making each bun one at a time. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of your dumpling skin. Pleat with as many folds as you can muster: 12-18 folds should do it.
Watch the video in our Carrot Ginger Pork Bun post. The technique is very similar. Basically, as you fold, you’re constantly using your thumb to push the filling into the resulting little “bag” that you’re creating with the dough. For this one, you’re just making more folds.
Make sure the top is sealed. If the filling ever gets too wet or hard to handle, put it in the freezer for another 15 minutes and start again.
Place the buns in the lined steamer basket, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches apart.
In a metal steamer pot or wok, boil water. If using a wok, put the water at a level so that when you put the bamboo steamer into the wok, the water rises about ½ inch up the bottom of the bamboo base. You never want the water to touch the dumplings inside, though, so make sure not to fill it too high!
Make sure not to fill it too low either, because if all the water evaporates, you could end up burning your bamboo steamer. See our post on how to set up a steamer if you’re not familiar with steaming foods in Chinese cooking.
Once the water is boiling, put the bamboo steamer in the wok or steamer pot, cover with the bamboo steamer lid, and steam over high heat for 8 minutes. Immediately remove the bamboo steamer from the pot and serve.
Ok, so there is definitely a proper way to enjoy these dumplings. Put away the soy sauce, because it has no place on the table right now. What you want is Chinese black vinegar.
Pour some out into a small, round dish or bowl, and top with some very thin matchsticks of ginger. You can also dilute the vinegar with a tiny splash of water to make the flavor a little more delicate.
Take out your two utensils—chopsticks and a Chinese soup spoon (a fork would just butcher these and the soup would dribble out all over the table. It would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions).
Carefully, slowly peel the xiaolongbao off of the steamer basket and dip it into the vinegar.
Gently transfer the dumpling to your soup spoon…
…and take a tiny bite out of the skin on the side of the soup dumpling to make a little hole. Proceed to slurp the soup out of the bun (Carefully. It’s HOT). Then, with a little more vinegar, finish the whole thing off in one bite.
Repeat as needed until all of the Shanghai Soup Dumplings are gone!
By the way, as if it could get any better, a side benefit of this soup dumpling is that it’s full of collagen from all that pork skin, which is a major skin-booster. Xiaolongbao are delicious AND can help you stay young!?! Come ON!
It’s not really a good idea to freeze these, as they’re so delicate.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas parties will be here before you know it! I know many of us are thinking now what to serve at our Thanksgiving celebration and holiday parties; this Pomegranate and Cranberry Bruschetta recipe will be perfect for both!
The taste of sweet pomegranate seeds mingled with tart cranberries… a pop of basil… the kick of serrano (which you may leave out if you must)… the creamy cheese and the crunch of crostini… all of these elements combine for perfection. REALLY!
Plus it’s so versatile; in fact, you can serve the relish on top of a block of cream cheese and eat with crackers. Or, substitute cream cheese on the crostini with a slice of brie and prosciutto. You could even add a bit of olive oil, salt and vinegar to about 1/4 cup of relish for an amazing salad dressing. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to let me know if you come up with some other creative ideas.
This recipe brought to us by Andrea of Party of two
September 11, 2019 by Melissa Bell
There are so many different diet plans around. Trends come and go but the desire of people to get slimmer, look and feel better is eternal. Often this desire gets used by unprofessional or frankly dishonest people that promise fast results without considering the person’s individual health conditions.
Many people mistakenly think that every diet plan works similarly for all people and there are universal principles that always bring results. This mistake is dangerous not only because of the disappointment with the result. Poor diet choices can affect your body’s metabolism, cause gastrointestinal issues, and even trigger an eating disorder.
This is why you should never forget about common sense while choosing yourself a diet plan and filter information you receive about slimming. There is a lot of outdated myths and unapproved methods people believe in. Let’s find out what’s wrong with popular advice on weight loss. Maybe this will make you rethink all that you know about it.
We have collected the most popular myths about weight loss and we have something to say against them all. Consultation with a qualified dietitian, critical thinking and self-education will help you avoid being fooled.
A low-calorie diet can give you the results you want to see but it won’t last long. It puts a great stress on your body that may make it want to save calories. Therefore, as soon as you are back to your usual diet, you will gain your weight back in a short amount of time. In addition, it’s very difficult not to cheat on such a diet plan, because you will feel hungry, weak and irritated. And guess what will happen with your occasional “cheat” meal. Yes, it will go straight into calorie storage on your hips or belly.
Different detox programs have become so popular recently. Not only will they not make you lose weight simply by cleansing your body from toxins, as they promise, they actually won’t remove any toxins from your body. All of us already have a mechanism for detoxifying our bodies that is active 24/7. It’s called the liver. It’s the only thing that really processes and removes toxic substances from our bodies. Any other attempts to detoxify it are, at best, useless. If you want some detox method that will be really helpful, detoxify your informational space from such types of fake promises.
Yes, it’s true that it’s better not to eat before sleep. In the evening, our metabolic processes slow down and the food is more likely to turn into fat. But let’s be honest, not many people go to sleep that early. What to do if you work at night shifts? You can eat after 6 pm if your daily schedule demands it but let it be something light, low in calories and rich in protein to keep you satiated. And this shouldn’t happen right before you sleep, at least several hours before sleep. In addition, long breaks between meals slow down metabolism and lead to gastrointestinal problems.
It’s true that slow carbohydrates are good because they can provide your body with energy for a longer time. But this works only if you consume them in the first half of the day when you are active and move more. Eating carbs in the evening and then laying down on a couch to watch Netflix or sleep won’t give them the necessary physical activity to get burned as fuel. They will go right into storage, and you already know how this storage looks like.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are very popular today because people want to be ethical and conscious about nature and everything living. Some also believe that a meatless diet will help them get slimmer. They have a point because meat is high in calories. But if this meat is lean, these calories are mostly protein that builds our muscles which burn fat and is an important part of a healthy diet. You can go vegetarian or even vegan if you feel like but don’t hope that going meatless will make you slimmer if you don’t control your portion size, overeat and your menu is packed with carbohydrates.
Even if you only eat products that are low in calories and rich in important nutrients, it’s not an excuse for overeating. They still have calories. The human body can digest only a limited amount of nutrients at a time. All the excess will be sent to storage no matter how good and valuable these products are for your body. In addition, big portions of food make your stomach increase in size which will keep aggravating the problem of overeating and will make you gain weight.
Proper diet is really the most helpful thing if you want to lose weight but to make it work, you should correct not only your daily menu but your entire lifestyle. If your daily routine doesn’t include physical exercise, proper sleep, and hydration, if your life is full of stress or you have any chronic illnesses, the result may differ from what you expected. Sleep and hydration are especially important. If you don’t have enough sleep, hormones in your body will make you hungrier and more exposed to stress-eating. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will store it and there will be swelling. Everything in our body is connected, you can’t fix one thing without adjusting others.
If you do everything right, you don’t fall for misinformation and fake promises, and still don’t lose weight, the reason may be deeper than just an improper diet plan. Some diseases and medications may make you gain weight. If you don’t take any medications at the moment, make an appointment with your doctor and go through health diagnostics. A problem with weight loss may be caused by such things as hormonal imbalance.
You should also be attentive to what your body feels. If you follow a certain diet plan and feel bad, you should contact your dietitian and ask for advice. Maybe this diet plan isn’t appropriate for you. Even if you are a completely healthy person, each body is unique and may have different reactions to the same food. Don’t tolerate discomfort and look for a solution.
Weight loss for men can be made difficult by a habit of drinking beer. This drink is brewed from hop that contains phytoestrogens that can induce weight gain according to a “female type”. This means massive belly, hips and “male boobs”. Therefore, no matter how hard you worked in the gym and how many chicken breasts you have eaten, beer can ruin the results of your hard effort.
For women, a little weight gain before menstruation is a normal thing. You can even visually notice changes in weight. It’s usually very frustrating for women to see that their body has expanded. But it’s an absolutely normal thing during this time of the month. Hormonal balance changes and body stores more fluid than usual. As soon as your menstruation will be over, your body will release this fluid and you will be able to see your real weight.
It is important not to get desperate when you see premenstrual weight gain and resist the temptation to indulge yourself with unhealthy food after such disappointment. You don’t want to gain more weight, right? A small piece of bitter chocolate will boost your brain with some endorphins and will help you get through this difficult time of the month.
From the good folks at KitchenAid, something light and healthy
There’s something about fruit salad that calls out to me to have two servings. Just take a look at this beauty. It’s a recipe from Julia so it has to be good, and healthy. Here’s how to prepare it.
Winter Fruit Salad with Maple-Lime Dressing – healthy, gluten free salad that utilizes seasonal winter fruit. This colorful and vibrant side dish will look great on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table! The ingredient list includes red apples, pears, clementine oranges (or mandarin oranges), kiwi fruit, dried cranberries, and pomegranate seeds. This salad is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins – all the good stuff you need, especially in the Winter.
This healthy winter fruit salad will fill you up with the nutrients and the vitamins during the cold winter months. It will also make a great holiday menu item, for Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other holiday.
Salad ingredients include red apples, pears, kiwi fruit, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, clementine oranges (you can use mandarin oranges, too) – all of that tossed in a delicious maple-lime dressing!
Thank you, Julia. Please send any left-overs to me. j/k