Recipe of the Week: Sausage Ricotta Pepperoni Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 (13.8-ounce can) refrigerated classic pizza crust
  • 1 (8-ounce) can pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 8 (1-ounce slices) fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  3. Working on a surface that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, roll out the pizza into a 12-inch-diameter round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet or pizza pan.
  4. Using a small ladle, spread pizza sauce over the surface of the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
  5. Top with sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella and dollops of ricotta.
  6. Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheeses have melted.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

‘Vegan’ Doesn’t Really Mean Healthy

recent observational study took a look at various forms of vegan and plant-based diets and confirmed my fears: Not all plant-based diets are good for you. When you think of someone who is a vegan, you probably assume they eat nothing but salads, beans and nuts each day. But as my experience shows, you can still be a vegan and follow a “plant-based” diet without ever touching an actual plant.

To understand the difference these diets can have on health, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health gathered dietary questionnaires from 210,000 nurses and other health professionals every two years for over two decades. They categorized three different types of plants-based diets:

  • Overall plant-based: Emphasized the consumption of plant-based foods with a reduced intake of animal products
  • Healthful plant-based: Plant-based with a focus on eating healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Unhealthful plant-based: Plant-based with a high-level of consumption of less-healthy plant-based foods, such as refined grains

Researchers found that following a plant-based diet helps to protect against heart disease. But not every form of plant-based diet will offer this protection. Participants who followed the overall plant-based diet had an 8 percent reduction in heart disease risk, while the risk was reduced by 25 percent for those who followed a healthful plant-based diet. For those who consumed an unhealthful plant-based diet, the risk of heart disease increased by around 32 percent.

By teasing out the differences in plant-based diets, researchers uncovered two key points. First, you don’t have to follow a completely vegan diet in order to receive some benefits to your health. Swapping the meat out of meals even just a few times a week can help reduce your risk for heart disease.

Second, a plant-based diet that is high in refined grains is actually more harmful to your health than one loaded with meat. Even if you remove all of the meat from your diet, you’re doing more harm to your health than good if you’re not getting most of your nutrition from healthy plant-based foods.

So bring on those Meatless Mondays. Just make sure that you’re swapping your meat out for fruits, veggies, legumes, beans and healthy whole grain foods.

Recipe of the Week: Tequila Shrimp Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (4-inch) tortillas, cut into pieces
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, if needed
  • 6 to 8 cups spring greens
  • 3 radishes, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • queso fresco cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper, for taste

honey garlic vinaigrette 

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the shrimp in a bowl or large resealable bag. Whisk together the oil, tequila, garlic, lime juice and zest chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour it over the shrimp and toss well. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare and chop the rest of your salad ingredients.
  2. Heat your grill, a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp (most likely in one or two batches) and cook until golden and opaque, barely 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the shrimp on a plate.
  3. To that same skillet, you can add your tortilla pieces. If there is residual from the shrimp, it will be enough to toast the tortillas, but if you need it, add teaspoon or 2 of oil or butter. Add the tortilla pieces into the skillet and cook until golden and crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the tortillas and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess grease.
  4. To assemble the salad, fill the bowl with the greens. Top with the shrimp, radish, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, corn and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the dressing and serve!

honey garlic vinaigrette 

  1. Whisk together the, vinegar, honey, garlic, lime juice and zest. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil to emulsify the dressing. This keeps well in the fridge!

Women Like The Smell Of Guys Who Eat A Certain Diet

What we eat can influence more than our waistlines. It turns out, our diets also help determine what we smell like.

A recent study found that women preferred the body odor of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, whereas men who ate a lot of refined carbohydrates (think bread, pasta) gave off a smell that was less appealing.

Skeptical? At first, I was, too. I thought this line of inquiry must have been dreamed up by the produce industry. (Makes a good marketing campaign, right?)

But it’s legit. “We’ve known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women,” says Ian Stephen of Macquarie University in Australia. He studies evolution, genetics and psychology and is an author of the study.

From an evolutionary perspective, scientists say our sweat can help signal our health status and could possibly play a role in helping to attract a mate.

How did scientists evaluate the link between diet and the attractiveness of body odor?

They began by recruiting a bunch of healthy, young men. They assessed the men’s skin using an instrument called a spectrophotometer. When people eat a lot of colorful veggies, their skin takes on the hue of carotenoids, the plant pigments that are responsible for bright red, yellow and orange foods.

“The carotenoids get deposited in our skin,” explains Stephen. The spectrophotometer “flashes a light onto your skin and measures the color reflected back,” says Stephen. The results are “a good indicator of how much fruits and vegetables we’re eating,” he says.

Stephen and his colleagues also had the men in the study complete food frequency questionnaires so they could determine the men’s overall patterns of eating. Then the men were given clean T-shirts and asked to do some exercise.

Afterward, women in the study were asked to sniff the sweat. (Note: The methodology was much more scientific and precise than my breezy explanation, but you get the picture.) “We asked the women to rate how much they liked it, how floral, how fruity,” and a bunch of other descriptors, explains Stephen.

It’s a small study, but the results were pretty consistent. “Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer,” Stephen told us.

Men who ate a lot of meat did not produce a sweat that was any more — or less — attractive to women. But meat did tend to make men’s odor more intense.

“This is not the first study to show that diet influences body odor,” says George Preti, an adjunct professor in the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

A study published in 2006 found that women preferred the odor of men who ate a non-meat diet, “characterized by increased intakes of eggs, cheese, soy, fruit and vegetables.”

But Preti points out that the relationship between diet and body odor is indirect.

Some people think if they eat a garlic or onion — or a piece of meat — they will smell like that food. “But that’s not what happens,” Preti says. Your breath might smell like the food you eat, but not your sweat.

Body odor is created when the bacteria on our skin metabolize the compounds that come out of our sweat glands.

“The sweat doesn’t come out smelly,” Preti explains. “It must be metabolized by the bacteria that live on the surface of the skin.”

Now, of course, at a time when good hygiene and deodorant use are commonplace, is the smell of our sweat a big concern?

I put that question to the happy hour crowd at a bar down the street from the NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I’m pretty OK with my smell,” Stefan Ruffini told me. That evening he was ordering a burger on a bun and a side of fries, along with a beer. When I told him about the findings of the study, he laughed it off.

“I’ve got a girlfriend, so I don’t worry about these things,” he said.

The study did not assess diet and odor attractiveness among same-sex couples.

“As a lesbian, I haven’t smelled a man in several years,” Stacy Carroll, who was also at happy hour, told me. “I eat a lot of produce, I have a girlfriend, so it’s working out.”

Carroll says people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are more likely to be interested in their health — “feeling good, looking fit” — than their smell.

Chick-fil-A Expands Breakfast Menu With Hash Brown Scramble Bowl, Burrito

Chick-fil-A lovers have long been able to order their favorite chicken sandwich in breakfast form via a biscuit. Now they can get it in bowl form, complete with hash browns. 

The fast food chicken joint announced today the launch of its first breakfast bowl, the Hash Brown Scramble.

The new meal is made with Chick-fil-A’s tot hash browns, scrambled eggs, cheese, jalapeño salsa, and choice of chicken nuggets or sausage.

The fast food chain explains that it wants to give its customers more options and saw an opportunity to reach people looking for breakfast bowls, an increasingly popular option for those tired of breakfast sandwiches.

In addition to the new bowl, Chick-fil-A says it will replace also offer a Hash Brown Scramble burrito, which will replace the current breakfast burrito.

The breakfast offerings are just the latest new offerings at Chick-fil-A. The company began testing a $30 family style meal back in July. A month before that, the chain debuted a gluten-free bun.

Recipe of the Week: Blue Cheese Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

Burger

  • 2 packages lean beef
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 TBS. parsley
  • 1 block blue cheese

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. About an hour beforehand, place the sliced sweet potato fries into a large bowl and cover with water (this helps them get extra crispy). Once ready, preheat the oven to 375. In a large ziploc bag (you may need two with this large of a batch) add the fries (drain first) then add seasonings and olive oil. Shake until evenly coated. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fries) or until golden brown.
  2. In a food processor, combine all of the burger ingredients except for the blue cheese. Pulse together until well combined (if the mixture is dry and crumbly, add milk 1TBS. at a time). Using a large ice cream scoop (or your hands) form about 6 large patties. In the center of each one, use your thumb to make a little indentation and fill with 1 tsp. blue cheese. Cover the hole with the meat mixture. Once finished, add the patties to a skillet (or grill) heated over a medium-high heat. They should take about 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve with your choice of burger buns and top with lettuce, mustard and tomato and top with sweet potato fries.

Restaurant Jobs Are the New Factory Jobs

Donald Trump’s ideal economy is defined by brawn. He praises steelworkers, speaks wistfully of coal mining, and tweets boastfully about new manufacturing factories. But 200 days into his presidency, the most promising sector of the U.S. labor market isn’t steel-plating. It’s dinner-plating.

Restaurant jobs are on fire in 2017, growing faster than health care, construction, or manufacturing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls this subsector “food services and drinking places,” and the jobs are mostly at sit-down restaurants, which make up 50 percent of the category. Fast-food joints are the next-largest employer in the category, with 37 percent. Bars—wonderful, plentiful, but leanly staffed—account for just 3 percent. So, I’m just going to keep saying “restaurants” for short.

In some metros, restaurants are powering the entire economy. More than a third of Cleveland’s new jobs since 2015 are in restaurants, according to EMSI data. The same is true for New Orleans, but since 2010.

Unlike mining or manufacturing, which tends to cluster in a handful of regions, the restaurant boom is spread across the country. New fine-dining restaurants, which tend to require more waitstaff, are blooming in all the predictable places—San Francisco, Nashville, and Austin (the Texas capital leads the country in percent-growth of restaurant jobs). But restaurants are dominating local economies in a diverse range of places, from poor metros like Little Rock, to rich places like Washington, D.C., and military hubs like Virginia Beach.

How did this happen? As Justin Fox points out, the trend didn’t appear overnight. For the past three decades, restaurants have steadily grown, as part of the most fundamental shift in American work—from making things to serving people. Between 1990 and 2008, 98 percent of new jobs came from so-called “nontradable” industries that aren’t sensitive to international trade, according to the economist Michael Spence.

In 1990, manufacturing was almost three times larger than the food-service industry. But restaurants have gradually closed the gap. At current rates of growth, more people will work at restaurants than in manufacturing in 2020. This mirrors the shift in consumer spending. Restaurants’ share of America’s food budget has doubled from 25 percent in the 1950s to 50 percent today.

The phenomenon is speeding up. Four of the five best years for restaurant growth on record have happened since 2011. Restaurant jobs have grown faster than the overall economy every month since August 2010. (That’s more than 200 consecutive months!) It’s not just a redundant artifact of the service-sector economy, either. Almost every month between 1996 and 2000—years when job creation soared in a booming economy—restaurant jobs grew slower than the rest of the labor market.

The trend is speeding up, but it’s not clear that we should cheer it—or whether it’s sustainable. Jobs are jobs, but these ones don’t pay very well. The typical private-sector job pays about $22 an hour. The typical restaurant job pays about $12.50. That’s one reason why the Fight for 15 movement to raise the minimum wage has targeted the restaurant industry. What’s more, although it might feel like a golden age of restaurants in America, the truth is that the United States might have too many restaurants, particularly “family-casual” chains like Applebee’s, which have struggled to keep up with rising labor costs.

But the most important feature of the restaurant-jobs boom is not what it may say about the future, but rather the fact that it is happening in the first place. Trump and other politicians often say they want to help the common worker. But then they talk about the economy as if it were cryogenically frozen sometime around 1957. The U.S. still makes stuff, but mostly it serves stuff. To help American workers, it helps to begin with an honest accounting of what Americans actually do.

Krispy Kreme Celebrates Solar Eclipse by Debuting Chocolate Glazed Donut

Donut fans, this one is for you. Krispy Kreme is set to debut a limited run of donuts that coincides with the solar eclipse. The donut chain will offer a chocolate rendition of the classic Original Glazed on August 21, the same day as the natural event. There is a catch though, customers are only allowed to purchase the limited donut before its debut during the Hot Light hours on August 19, 20 and all day on Monday the 21.

In a statement by Jackie Woodward, the CMO of Krispy Kreme states:

“The solar eclipse is a rare occasion providing a total sensory experience for viewers across the continental U.S. Chocolate will have the same effect as we introduce a first-time chocolate glazing of our iconic Original Glazed Doughnut. The Chocolate Glazed Doughnut is a delicious way to experience the solar eclipse — no matter where you are — and we can’t wait for fans to try it.”

Will you be picking up the treats?

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Buying Your Groceries Online Can Curb Impulse Buying & Ultimately Weight Gain

For people who just can’t seem to pass up the candy in a supermarket checkout line, perhaps grocery shopping online could help reduce these impulse purchases, a new study suggests.

In the study, college students who were asked to shop for groceries online made similar food choices to one another, regardless of how impulsive the individuals were.

The findings are preliminary, and more research is needed to confirm the results, but the study suggests that online grocery shopping could help people stick to a healthy diet, said lead study author Jaime Coffino, a public health researcher at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Previous research shows that people who are more impulsive may be less healthy than less impulsive people, Coffino told Live Science. In a grocery store, that impulsiveness could lead to a shopping cart filled with junk food.

The new study looked at 60 college students who filled out questionnaires that assessed their levels of impulsiveness as well as how they respond to the presence of food. The students were then told they had $48.50 for grocery shopping, and were asked to fill an online shopping cart with “nutritious, affordable and tasty” foods.

When Coffino calculated the nutritional value of all the food in each person’s online shopping cart, she found that there was no link between the foods a person chose and how impulsive the person was.

“It didn’t matter how impulsive a person was,” Coffino said. “The nutritional outcomes didn’t vary.”

Online grocery shopping could one day serve as a type of dietary intervention, Coffino said. Often, when people buy groceries online, they need to search for each item they want, as opposed to strolling through a store and saying, for example, “Oh, those chips look good.” Online, more planning and thought is needed. In addition, online grocery shopping makes people more aware of how much money they’re spending, which could deter them from adding impulsive picks to their carts, Coffino said.

She noted that the study has limitations — for example, no control group was used — and much more research is needed. Future studies could compare online grocery shopping to in-store grocery shopping, she said.

The findings were presented here Aug. 4 at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting. The research is part of a larger study that looks at how public health researchers can use online grocery shopping as a tool to encourage healthy eating. The findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

For the Pizza:

  • 1 pound Pizza Dough, I love using my Perfect Garlic Agave Pizza Crust!
  • 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Red Onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese

For the Fried Buffalo Chicken:

  • 2 large Chicken Breasts, skinless, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Canola Oil, for frying

For the Buffalo Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Melted Butter
  • 2/3 cup Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • pinch of Granulated Sugar

For the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sour Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lime Juice
  • 1/8 cup Chopped Italian Parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Chives, chopped, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the chunks of chicken breast to a small bowl. Add buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of salt to the bowl and mix well with the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend ingredients for the blue cheese avocado dressing until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the buffalo sauce. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F and add pizza stone to the oven to preheat. Roll out pizza dough to desired shape.
  5. Add to hot pizza stone and pre-bake for 5 to 7 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Set aside.
  6. Combine flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and pepper for the fried buffalo chicken is a large sealable bag. Seal and shake the bag well to combine the dry ingredients.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, drain the chicken pieces over the bowl and then add to the bag with the flour mixture.
  8. Once all the chicken has been added to the bag, seal the bag and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are covered with the mixture.
  9. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat approximately 5 inches of canola oil over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F.
  10. Add the chicken pieces, frying about 5 at a time, for about 4-5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown. You may want to cut a piece open to make sure there is no pink inside or you can test the chicken with a thermometer, making sure it reaches at least 165°F.
  11. Drain on a pan lined with paper towels. Once all the chicken is fried, add to a small bowl with 1/2 the buffalo sauce.
  12. Mix until all the chicken has a good coating of sauce.
  13. Spread the remaining 1/2 of the buffalo sauce on the pizza crust.
  14. Top with mozzarella cheese and sliced red onion.
  15. Bake for 5 minutes, or until melty and bubbling.
  16. Remove from oven. Top with chicken, blue cheese crumbles, chopped chives and chopped parsley.
  17. Drizzle over blue cheese avocado dressing. Serve immediately.