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Bon Appétit: Jerusalem Water Salad

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Serving size: 2 servings

  2 small, firm tomatoes (Campari size)
  1 small Persian cucumber
  2 scallions
  1 medium red bell pepper (may substitute 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 yellow bell pepper)
  About 10 small red radishes or 5 French breakfast radishes
  1 clove garlic
  Scant 1 cup water
  1/2 large lemon
  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  Pinch freshly ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper


Directions:

Seed the tomatoes, then cut them into small dice and transfer to a large glass bowl. Cut the cucumber, scallions, bell pepper and radishes into small dice, transferring them to the bowl as you work.

Use the flat side of a knife to smash the garlic, then crush and work it into almost a paste; add to the bowl. Add half of the water; stir until well incorporated; cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Just before serving, squeeze the lemon’s juice into the bowl, then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of water, the salt and pepper. Divide between wide, shallow bowls; eat while it’s fairly chilled.

Study: Job Stress Might Make You Sick

The Gilmer Free Press

High levels of job stress may increase the risk of sick leave due to mental health disorders, a new study suggests.

According to WebMD, researchers analyzed data from nearly 12,000 workers in Sweden. Over five years, about eight percent of the workers took mental health sick leave. Three-quarters of those who took mental health sick leave were women.

Workers with demanding jobs, high job strain and little social support at work were at greater risk for mental health sick leave, as were those with unhealthy lifestyles. Smoking was a significant risk factor for mental health sick leave.

High levels of physical activity reduced the risk of mental health sick leave, according to the study.

The findings add to previous research showing that psychological conditions in the workplace affect rates of mental health sick leave, and may suggest ways to reduce the risk, according to researcher Lisa Mater of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues.

“Interventions to reduce sick leave due to mental disorders that focus on improving the psychosocial work environment, especially reducing high psychosocial job demands, may prove effective,“ they wrote.

Attempts to get workers to adopt healthier lifestyles without also addressing problems in the workplace may be less effective, the study authors added.

Bon Appétit: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Quinoa

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Serving size: 8 servings; makes 4 cups

  For the Brussels sprouts
  4 ounces Brussels sprouts
  1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  Salt
  Freshly ground black pepper

  For the quinoa
  3/4 cup dried quinoa
  1 1/2 cups boiling water
  1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  Pinch salt
  Pinch dried herbs (your choice; optional)

  For the mushrooms
  1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  4 portobello mushroom caps (12 ounces total), cleaned and cut into bite-size chunks
  Salt
  Freshly ground black pepper

  For assembly
  1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  Olive oil
  Splash apple cider vinegar
  Juice of 1 lemon
  Salt
  Freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

For the sprouts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Trim off and discard the root ends and tough outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts, then cut each sprout in half from top to bottom. Transfer to the baking sheet; toss with the oil and crushed red pepper flakes, then lightly season with the salt and pepper, so the sprouts are evenly coated. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring the sprouts once or twice, until their edges begin to crisp and brown.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, boiling water and vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture just comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa grains are tender but not mushy. Season lightly with salt and with dried herbs, if using. Turn off the heat; fluff with a fork, then transfer to a serving bowl.

For the mushrooms: Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat; once the oil shimmers, stir in the mushrooms. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and have begun to soften and brown. Turn off the heat.

When ready to assemble, add the roasted Brussels sprouts, sauteed mushrooms and pomegranate seeds to the quinoa, tossing gently to incorporate. Drizzle with a little oil and a splash of vinegar, the lemon juice and a final sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to blend them in. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

Bon Appétit: Grilled Fruit Sundaes With Strawberry Sauce

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Serving size: 4 servings

  1 tablespoon honey
  1 tablespoon boiling water
  About 5 large strawberries, hulled and chopped (5 ounces total; defrosted, with juice, if using frozen)
  10 seedless green grapes
  1 medium peach or nectarine, ripe but firm
  1 medium plum, ripe but firm
  1 teaspoon canola oil
  1 1/3 cups regular or low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
  Fresh mint, for garnish


Directions:

Prepare the grill for direct heat or preheat a gas grill to medium (375 to 400 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal; once the coals are ready, distribute them evenly in the cooking area. For a medium fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 6 to 7 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.

Combine the honey and boiling water in a liquid measuring cup, stirring until the honey has dissolved. Pour into a blender, then add the strawberries; puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a container, pressing the puree through with a spoon. Discard the solids; cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).

Spray the grill grate, a vegetable grilling basket or a grill pan with cooking oil spray; if using the basket or pan, place it on the grill.

Thread the grapes onto the skewer. Cut the peach or nectarine and the plum in half, and discard the pits, then cut each half vertically into 2 round slices. Brush the fruit slices with oil on both sides and place them on the grate (or in the basket or pan). Cook uncovered for 2 minutes on one side, then turn and cook for 1 minute on the second side, until the fruit has softened and grill marks have formed. Transfer the fruit to a cutting board, allow to cool slightly, then cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.

Place the skewer on the grill; cook uncovered for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until the grapes are lightly browned. Remove from the skewer and cut each grape in half.

To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of fruit into each small bowl or parfait glass. Top each portion with a 1/3-cup scoop of the frozen yogurt, then drizzle with the chilled strawberry sauce. Garnish with mint; serve right away.

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