What Is a Pressure Cooker?

7 Dec

What is a pressure cooker?  How does a pressure cooker work?  Hungry for a home-cooked meal but lacking in the time?  An electric multicooker, which can act as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer can help.  Although the Instant Pot is one of the most popular multicookers on the market, there are other good brands out there as well.  How do you get the most out of your pressure cooker?  Keep reading!

Image result for pressure cooker

What is this multicooker that you speak of?  It’s a pressure cooker, utilizing pressure and heat to prepare food evenly and quickly, usually in a fraction of the time of traditional methods.  It can also function as a slow cooker, allowing you to take your time if you aren’t in such a rush.  It can sauté and steam with a built-in heat source at the bottom of the machine.  This means you can use the pot to sear meats, sauté vegetables, steam rice or even simmer liquids for steaming without using a stove top.

Old style stovetop pressure cookers have a gauge on the lid that pops up as the pressure increases, meaning that the inside of the pot has reached optimal pressure. The heat needs to be adjusted to keep the pot’s temperature and pressure constant to avoid over-pressurizing which can burn the food inside, or in extreme cases, explode.

An electric pressure cooker traps steam rising from the boiling liquid within the pot, which raises the temperature at which that boils.  It can work at different pressure levels with a steam valve that allows excess steam to escape, keeping the pressure cooker from exploding.  It will also turn itself off if the pressure or temperature ever rises too high so it’s another wonderful tool to have in your kitchen that you can set and walk away with little worry.

To use your electric pressure cooker, review your recipe to determine the pressure level – high pressure is used for many recipes, but low pressure is used for more delicate items like seafood, rice or eggs.  Some pressure cookers even have a setting for different proteins.  Set your steam valve and once you set your device, it will begin building pressure (pressure cannot build if the device is venting).  Pressure build up can take up to 20 minutes.

Once the cooking time is up, the multicooker will automatically change to “keep warm” function and begin slowly losing pressure.  It can take up to 30 minutes to release naturally.  The longer the pressure cooker has been on and the more food it has in it, the longer the natural release will take.  If the recipe calls for an immediate manual release, carefully move the steam valve to the venting position and the pressure will release in a minute or so, with a burst of steam.  Keep your hand away from the top of the valve – you may consider using tongs or a wooden spoon to move the valve or covering the valve with a dish towel to keep the steam from spraying all over your kitchen.

If you are tight on space, you can replace your slow cooker and rice cooker with a multicooker since it can handle slow cooking, pressure cooking or steaming methods at the touch of a button.

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WSYM: MWLC Patient – Dwayne

27 Nov

Medical Weight Loss Clinic Lansing patient Dwayne G. joined Bob and Tracy on WSYM’s The Morning Blend to discuss his personal weight loss journey.  He lost 45 lbs in 16 weeks with Medical Weight Loss Clinic!  Congratulations Dwayne on your inspiring accomplishment!

“Discipline = Freedom.  If you can discipline yourself to do what you need to do to lose the weight, you can have the freedom to do what you want later on.”

– Dwayne G.

Book a free consultation today by calling 1-800-GET-SLIM or https://patients.mwlc.com/Book_Your_Consultation.php

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Kitchen Gadgets for Weight Loss

27 Nov

Are you limited on space in your kitchen? Aside from a sharp knife, cutting board and good pan, there are a few other tools that can help you in your quest for food prep and healthy eating.

Image result for food scale meat

Measuring Spoon and Cups
Make no mistake, these aren’t just for measuring ingredients for your recipes. A nice set of measuring spoons and cups will help you practice portion control.

Kitchen Scale For Weight Loss
A kitchen scale is perfect for items that can’t fit into a measuring spoon or cup. A kitchen scale won’t break the bank (less than $40), but it will help you learn how to portion proteins or measure items based on weight instead of volume. Do you really know what 13 ounces of quinoa looks like? The scale doesn’t lie.

Slow Cooker
You may think of it as a tool for busy people instead of a weight loss gadget, but really it’s the best way to ensure your meal is ready when you are. No more grabbing convenience foods the minute you rush through the door. Not to mention, who doesn’t like a nice, hot, home-cooked meal? Soups are delicious and lean proteins are incredibly tender.

Mini Food Processor
Chip, whip and blend – on a smaller scale. It’s still easy and fast, but it takes up far less storage space with the same results.

Collapsible Steamer
Want to know the easiest, fastest and healthiest way to cook vegetables? Steam it! Steaming keeps the nutrients in the food, rather than losing them in the water. For under $10, you can find a collapsible steamer that can fold up to the size of a salad plate.

 

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How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

20 Nov

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts didn’t always have the best reputation, but the ways they are being cooked now would make any vegetable jealous. They are versatile and just as delicious as any other greens out there. Here are three simple methods for cooking brussels sprouts.

Image result for brussels sprouts stalk knife

Buying & Cleaning Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week and a half so they are great to have on hand. Look for the cabbagelike buds on a large inedible stalk. They should be tightly closed with green leaves and shouldn’t smell cabbage-y or show any signs of yellowing.
To clean them, trim the ends and rinse them off in a large bowl of cold water. Pat them dry before storing in your refrigerator crisper or vegetable drawer up to a week and a half.

Raw Brussels Sprouts
Raw brussels sprouts leaves can give kale a run for its money. While the raw leaves tend to be a little peppery, they can be thinly sliced for a shredded slaw. Trim the stems off and halve them lengthwise. To thinly slice the entire sprout, lay the cut side down on the cutting board to prevent them from rolling around.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasting brussels sprouts may be the best and most delicious way to prepare them. They caramelize when exposed to high heat, soften enough but also become crispy. Half or quarter your cleaned brussels sprouts and distribute them on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray them with unflavored non-stick cooking spray and roast them at 450, tossing every 10 minutes or so until the outer leaves begin to char and the innermost part of the sprout is tender. Toss them with lemon or orange zest and finish them off with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Steamed Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts may have gained their bad reputation from cooks over steaming them to a mushy army-green death instead of preserving their bright color and tender texture. Fill a pot with 2 inches of water and place a metal steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a simmer, add the brussels sprouts to the basket and cover, steaming for 8-10 minutes or until they are bright green and just cooked through. Add lemon juice and fresh mint or other chopped herbs, chile flakes or ground spices of your choice.

Would you like to see more healthy Brussels Sprouts recipes? If you are looking for some fresh recipe ideas, visit http://patients.mwlc.com/Recipes2016.php

 

 

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5 Ways to Set Yourself Up For a Happy and Healthy Life

17 Nov

The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for people because there is an expectation that you have to be happy and enjoy every minute of it. For many, that is not realistic. A healthy lifestyle with balanced nutrition and exercise can create a solid foundation that can help you bounce back faster when stress occurs – not just through the holidays but on an ongoing basis. Here are 5 holiday health tips.

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1. Sleep
Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended so set an alarm in the evening to allow yourself time to clear your mind and get ready for a night of quality sleep. It is easier to handle stress and manage emotions when you are well rested.

2. Silence
Many times, stress is not in the present. It can linger in the past or in our thoughts of the future. Practice slowing down your train of thought, take deep breaths and enjoy being the moment.

3. Sweat
Proven to be effective against anxiety and depression, exercising or any kind of movement is a great way to get those endorphins going for positive emotional and physical health.

4. Success
It’s rewarding to set a personal goal and achieve it. Make it a realistic goal such as an eating habit, watching less TV or walking more – then work towards it!

5. Social
Connectedness is an innate need that we all have. Make time for it and surround yourself with people that value and support you.

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3 Things to Eat in November

10 Nov

The month of November offers plenty of fresh harvested produce to aid in weight loss or any health focused goals. Take advantage of these 3 seasonal items while they are in abundance in your local market.

Cabbage
While there are hundreds of varieties of cabbage, red, green and savoy cabbages are the most common cabbages you will find. All cabbage contains high amounts of vitamin C, folate and potassium. Filled with plenty of fiber, it’s a good choice to help keep the digestive system moving. Due to their darker hue, red or purple cabbage also have high levels of anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds called flavonoids which may have powerful antioxidant properties. Slice raw cabbage thinly and use it as a crunchy base in salads or add it to soups and stews. Try our Cabbage Wrapped Beef Shumai!

Pomegranate
These juicy red seeds have gained popularity over the past few years due to the many incredible health benefits including helping prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s. They are loaded with vitamin C and their juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. Sprinkle the seeds over a salad or use it as an edible and colorful garnish to any dish. Try our Apple, Grapefruit and Pomegranate Salad!

Sweet Potatoes
These tubers are actually part of the Morning Glory family and are different from yams, despite often being incorrectly labeled in some grocery stores. While the Garnet variety of sweet potatoes is most popular because of its deliciously sweet flavor and bright color, sweet potatoes are also available in white and purple. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium along with high levels of vitamin A – in some cases providing as much as 980% of your daily needs. Mash them and add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice or roast them with brussels sprouts for a tasty fall side dish.  Try our Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie!

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy these 3 super foods!  If you are looking for some fresh recipe ideas, visit http://patients.mwlc.com/Recipes2016.php

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How to Use an Immersion Stick Blender

9 Nov

How to use an Immersion Stick Blender

You may have seen Chef Bobby use an Immersion Stick Blender to make the Green Onion and Cauliflower Soup from Meatless Monday segment on Fox2.  Are Immersion Stick Blenders easy to use?  Are they worth it?  Yes!

  1. Immersion blenders are compact. They are perfect for small kitchens because they take up very little space.
  2. Immersion blenders are relatively inexpensive. You can easily find an immersion blender for under $40.
  3. Immersion blenders are versatile. You can do so many things with a hand blender – it’s not just for soup, but any time you have a lot of blend-able items to work with such as salsas, shakes, sauces or even baby food.  Make sure the head of the blender is fully submerged in whatever you are blending.
  4. They’re fast. Sometimes, it takes only 30 seconds to create a recipe.  Gently move the blender up and down or in a slow stirring motion. If you are making a hot blended dish or soup, let it cool for 10-20 minutes before blending, as things can splatter occasionally.
  5. Less to clean up. Clean the blender piece in a bowl of warm, soapy water and rinse. The blade of the immersion blender will be harder to clean if you let it sit for too long.

Enjoy this Cherry Popsicle recipe!

Cherry Popsicle

Servings:
2 Fruits
1 Dairy

Ingredients:
9 medium Cherries
2/3 cup mixed Blackberries and Blueberries
1 serving Plain, Non-Fat Yogurt
Juice from 1/2 fresh Lemon
Lemon Zest, to taste
Fresh Mint, to taste

Preparation:
Using an Immersion Stick Blender, blend cherries, blackberries, blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh mint, and yogurt in a cup or bowl. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until firm. Enjoy!

 

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WJBK Fox2 Detroit: Green Onion Cauliflower Soup Meatless Monday with Chef Bobby

7 Nov

In case you missed it, MWLC Culinary Advisor Chef Bobby and Business and Wellness Development Coordinator Tracy Strieter made a delicious Green Onion Cauliflower Soup.  This vegetarian and vegan friendly soup will not only warm you up but it will satisfy your belly too!  Enjoy this low sodium soup recipe!

Green Onion Cauliflower Soup

All Freedom plans, all Freedom Vegetarian plans, FT 2.0 approved

Counts as: 2 ½ vegetables


Ingredients:

1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp of Chili Powder
1 ½ cup Cauliflower florets (1/2 reserved for garnish)
5 Green Onions (chopped)
1 ½ cups Water
Juice from ½ of a Lemon
Pinch each of Curry, Ginger and Turmeric (to taste)
fresh Thyme (to garnish)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Lemon zest (to garnish)
Unflavored non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

SOUP:  Add a little water to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and chili powder; saute stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of cauliflower and chopped green onions, cook for a couple of minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. Use a hand blender to puree the soup. Stir in the lemon juice, thyme and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add a little more water. Taste and adjust seasoning.

CAULIFLOWER GARNISH:  Combine ½ cup of remaining cauliflower florets, unflavored non-stick spray and ¼ teaspoon of curry powder in a mixing bowl. Pour the contents on a baking sheet and roast the curried cauliflower mixture at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve topped with curried cauliflower, fresh thyme and lemon zest.  Serve!

For more healthy recipes, visit www.mwlc.com/recipes

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Diabetes and Your Health: A Letter to Diabetes

3 Nov

November is American Diabetes Month.

You can’t ignore Diabetes.  But you can do something about it.

Are you a Medical Weight Loss Clinic patient living with diabetes or prediabetes?  We want to know your diabetes story!   Medical Weight Loss Clinic and the American Diabetes Association would love to know how your weight loss has impacted your diabetes and health.

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly half of all American adults have diabetes or prediabetes – a staggering number.  If you’re lucky enough not to have diabetes yourself, the odds are someone you love does.  Many don’t believe diabetes is serious.  But it is, and it can be deadly.

Diabetes doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, or how healthy you feel.  It visits one of us every 21 seconds!  This November, for American Diabetes Month, we invite you to do something about it by writing a letter to Diabetes.

  1. Consider what you would say to Diabetes. How does it make you feel?
  2. Write a letter to Diabetes expressing your feelings. Not a writer?  Record a video or audio message.
  3. Send your letter to Diabetes to info@mwlc.com and we will share it on social media using #DearDiabetes

 

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Dietary Tips & Health Benefits of Ginger

2 Nov

Dietary Tips & Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is a popular ingredient in cooking, especially in Asian and Indian cuisines.  Fresh or dried, ginger can be used to easily flavor foods and beverages without adding salt or sugar.  Ginger has also been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Image result for ginger root

Ginger root has been used to relieve nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain.  The root or rhizome (underground stem) of the plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in essential oil form, or even as a juice.  Cardamom and turmeric come from the same family and these spices can be commonly found in India, Jamaica, Indonesia and Australia.  Ginger can also be used to make tea, added to curries and savory dishes or dried/crystallized in sweets and other confections. It contains hundreds of compounds and metabolites, some of which may contribute to health and healing.  6 health benefits of ginger:

  1. Digestion
  2. Nausea
  3. Cold and Flu Relief
  4. Pain Reduction
  5. Inflammation
  6. Cardiovascular Health

 

Recipe Tips for Ginger

When buying fresh ginger, look for a root with smooth, taut skin.  It should be wrinkle free and have a spicy aroma.  Store your fresh ginger in a tightly wrapped bag in the refrigerator or freezer.  Peel and grate what you need prior to use.  In most recipes, one-eighth of a teaspoon of ground ginger can be substituted for one tablespoon of fresh grated ginger.  Try it in homemade salad dressing, steep fresh peeled ginger in boiling water for a soothing ginger tea or pair it with seafood, oranges, melon, pork or chicken.

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