New recipes

Room 39: A New Way to Eat Casually

Room 39: A New Way to Eat Casually

A New Way to Eat Casually

With Kansas City slowly turning into a food center, it needs a restaurant that brings the comfort of casual dining to the sophistication of fine dining. Room 39 does the job well: they combine seasonal ingredients with an exceptionally warm restaurant atmosphere to provide the guests with a truly high quality dining experience. Started by Andrew Sloan and Ted Habiger in 2004, they wanted to promote local farm fresh produce while still maintaining deliciously tasty entrées, and have since succeeded in becoming a staple restaurant in Kansas City for all meals.

Room 39 provides a menu with very appetizing plates. Some great ones include tempura mushrooms with cilantro and smoked sea salt, risotto with caramelized onions, pistachios and gaeta olives, and seared duck breast with green lentils, goat cheese, and mustard greens all in a strawberry-rhubarb puree. On top of these great food options to choose from, one unique feature about their menu is that they feature the local farms where their ingredients come from. Additionally, it seems that by popular request, they include sample recipes directly from their kitchen so diners can share and enjoy this food in the comfort of their own home.

Not only does Room 39 have a great menu, their comfortable atmosphere feels welcoming to all guests. During breakfast and lunch hours, the dining room is filled with handcrafted tables, creating a casual pub feel, whereas during dinner, the room gets covered with white tablecloths and award wining bottles of wine. Being reviewed by publications like Food and Wine Magazine, who awarded their spicy shrimp the best dish of the year, Room 39 offers patrons to eat exceptionally fresh and creative meals comfortably.


10 Easy Side Dishes to Bring to Thanksgiving

Complete with creamy green bean casseroles, butter-whipped mashed potatoes, and at least three different kinds of cranberry sauces, Thanksgiving dinner can be a total calorie bomb. Fortunately, there are options for salvaging your flat belly plans. Whether it's for your in-laws' annual potluck or a casual Friendsgiving get together, making your own healthy side dish is a good way to guarantee that at least one thing on the table fits into your diet plan. (Plus, saving calories on the turkey's accompaniments means you'll have room for a slice of pie. Yum!)

To make things on Thanksgiving a little easier, we stuffed this list below with super simple recipes that are Turkey Day- and everyday-approved. Check 'em out and be sure to take a gander at this jaw-dropping nutritional breakdown of Every Classic Thanksgiving Dish—Ranked! before you sit down, give thanks, and gorge.


18 Great Rooms That Make a Strong Case for Open Floor Plans

How to decorate the hardest working room in the house.

The great room is easily the hardest working room in the house, as its entire purpose to serve multiple key functions all in one shared space. The goal is to make everyday living just a little easier, and to make a communal space a little more enticing. As a result, they can present some extra design challenges. With more moving parts and pieces to the puzzle, great rooms are that much harder to decorate. Layout, color schemes, and scale. So if you're looking for some inspiration, keep reading for eighteen great rooms design ideas and decorating tips.

In this beach house, designer Alexander Design made the family room feel upscale and sophisticated yet down to earth, livable, and coastal. This great room truly has it all, from a dining area to a formal hang out spot and even a pool table.

Functioning as both the formal dining and living room, it's the ultimate entertaining space. The massive blue carpet helps unify the space since it stretches from the eating zone to the living area. The darker dinning chairs and light sofa and coffee table, on the other hand, help to distinguish them from one another.

Leanne Ford Interiors creates separate "rooms" defined by furniture groupings to make the great room feel both cohesive and functional. Each space stands its own while also working together for a harmonious whole. The kitchen blends in and disappears into the background while the dining nook and living rooms contrast in both color and design.

Designed by Arent & Pyke, the icy gray marble material in the kitchen jumps into the living room in the form of a velvet texture-rich area rug in a similar gray hue. Then the light blush sofa beyond the kitchen is reflected in the rosy sheer curtains in the dining room. The caramel leather dining chairs add some contrast without clashing with the aforementioned cohesion.


The 50 dishes you need to eat in N.J. in 2020

In 2019, I ate my way around New Jersey with a vengeance.

In the dead of winter, I hit 20 doughnut shops to update my annual N.J.'s best doughnut shops list. Then I drove nearly 1,000 miles around the state for my N.J.'s best wings list, just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. That was followed by visits to 16 pizzerias for a best pizzerias you've never heard of list.

There were stories on N.J.'s greatest old-school pizzerias, N.J.'s 50 best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and the 64 foods that define New Jersey and where to get them. There were visits to a dozen previously-unvisited empanada spots for my annual best empanadas list. There were a mere 129 sauces sampled for my epic ranking of every sauce brand available in N.J. There was a statewide search for N.J.'s best grilled cheese sandwiches.

Then came the toughest assignment of all — spending a month in bars for our month-long search for N.J.'s best bars. Seriously. Let the record show I ate way more than I drank.

That was no sooner over than I hit 17 BBQ joints around the state for my annual N.J.'s best BBQ joints list. Then came a list of the best hot dog joint in each of N.J.'s 21 counties an update, with more visits, of the best ice cream shop in each of N.J.'s 21 counties then 31 stops and 48 items sampled in my best boardwalk foods update.

Next came visits to 30 ice cream stands in four days for a best soft serve list and stops at 39 food trucks for a N.J.'s best food trucks compilation (I had already visited 125 trucks in the previous few years). I drove 1,400 miles and visited nearly 50 spots for a rundown of the state's best Taylor ham/pork roll sandwiches and 20 pizzerias for a best new pizzerias post. (You can never write enough about pizza in New Jersey.)

"I want your job!'' is a frequent comment on social media.

My answer is always the same: No, you don't.

What follows is the culmination of all that research: the best dishes/sandwiches/meals I ate in 2019, ranked — which makes them the best dishes you should eat in 2020.

They're all over the state map — and the culinary map. Seafood, steak, ribs, pizza, burgers, grilled cheese, tacos and empanadas. Puerto Rican, Italian, Mexican, Korean, Indian and Greek. I ate widely. and well.

This is not a list of the state's best restaurants, just the best things I ate all year, ranked (#50 is no slouch, believe me). Several are from roving food trucks, so a location is not given.

What were your favorite dishes/sandwiches/meals this year? Let us know in the comments section.

Ed Murray I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

50. Tavern burger, Stirling Hotel, Stirling

The Stirling Hotel was a finalist in our first N.J.'s best bar showdown back in 2015, and much of it had to do with the food — time-honored American standards done simply and well. The outdoor lawn is a great summertime hangout. The tavern burger, a blend of short rib and brisket, is towering and terrific.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

49. The White Pizza, Ava's Kitchen + Bar, Kenilworth

Ava's is in the former Umberto's Clam Bar space. The facade includes refinished wood and windows the owner removed from a shuttered industrial warehouse in Asbury Park. The menu includes burgers, ribs, hummus, vegetable curry and pizza, the latter from a wood-burning brick oven. The White (photo), with house-made ricotta, Caclocavallo pecorino, fresh garlic and olive oil, was the best white pizza I had all year.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

48. Prime rib, Draught House, Washington (Warren Co.)

Isn't the prime rib at the Draught House a thing of beauty? The bar was one of 50 we visited during our epic N.J.'s best bar showdown over the summer. I ate well all month, and some of the most unprepossessing bars had the best food. The outdoor patio at the Draught House — dig the boat bar — makes for a great summertime hangout. Oh, and you haven't lived until you've tried the margherita flight.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

47. Jelly donuts, Village Donut Shop, Jackson

Damn, did I gorge out on donuts in 2019. And somehow, I didn't gain an ounce doing it (yeah, I know, there's something wrong with me). The Village Donut Shop is a delightful hole-in-the-wall. There's a limited selection, and you won't find any designer donuts with kooky toppings here. The jelly donut, in the photo at left, is what every jelly donut aspires to be, but almost never is.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

46. Ribs, Back Alley Barbecue, Pennsauken

Nothing warms my heart more than a smoker by the side of the road. One stands proudly outside Back Alley Barbecue. Owner Ron Jones ran a BBQ stand inside Columbus Farmers Market, relocating to Pennsauken in June 2018. The menu is written in colorful chalk on the wall, and there's a back dining room. The ribs (photo) are meaty, monstrous and marvelous, and the chicken and brisket sandwiches are packed with meat. The sides are generous, if not gigantic. Try the mac-n-cheese and coleslaw.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

45. Jersey peach ice cream, Pennsville Custard Stand, Pennsville

The peak-roofed Pennsville Custard Stand, open since 1952, is tiny, but the parking lot is bigger than some small towns. The Jersey peach ice cream (back right in photo) is highly recommended, and you must try the water ice, especially the watermelon and honeydew.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

44. Jerk wings, Back Bay Ale House, Atlantic City

The Back Bay Ale House, a two-story restaurant/bar with views of Absecon Inlet, remains a relative secret outside AC. There's a cozy indoor bar, an upstairs dining room, a spacious outdoor patio and a tiki bar. Cocktails are served in Mason jars. The jerk wings, spicy and assertive, made my most recent N.J.'s best wings list. Back Bay is open year-round.

Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

43. Spuntino Board, Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Clifton

Located next to the Shannon Rose, Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas opened in 2012 and has acquired a reputation as a wine wonderland. The Spuntino Board, with prosciutto, sopressata, parmigiana reggiano, mozzarella, candied walnuts, roasted grapes, honey, fig jam and a balsamic glaze, is simply constructed and simply great. I couldn't get enough of those roasted grapes!

42. Vegetarian empanadas, Ada's Gojjo, Asbury Park

This list isn't just a nonstop homage to meat. The vegetarian empanadas at Ada's Gojjo are an excellent alternative to conventional meat empanadas. Owner Adanech Asghedom deftly cooks Ethiopian food (her native cuisine) and Dominican. She ran Ada's Latin Flavor in Long Branch before relocating to Asbury Park with a new restaurant name — Ada's Gojjo. Ethiopian food, she says, "is similar to Indian food, in that bread is used as a utensil to scoop up other food, and that vegetables are featured prominently on many menus.'' And the chicken empanada here is well ahead of most. Love the homemade dipping sauce, too.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

41. Chicken tikka masala bowl, Bites & Bowls

My introduction to Bites & Bowls came at the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival, where it won the Top Truck award. It describes itself as a "fast casual fusion cantina grill with flavors around the globe,'' which is a mouthful. Just know this: the food's good. The chicken tikka masala is a standout.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

40. Jerk sandwich, Mermaid Mutineer

Mermaid Mutineer describes itself as a "gypsy food caravan, celebrating adventure on land and sea.'' I don't think the truck is seaworthy, but you never know. The chimichurri beef and jerk chicken sandwiches are both standouts — hefty, hearty and hellaciously good. If you have to pick one, go with the jerk chicken (photo), packed with meat, tomatoes, greens and mango. It's lovely to look at and eat.

39. Italian Meat Lovers Pizza, Four Sisters Gourmet Pizza, Raritan Borough

Four Sisters adds to tiny Raritan's pizza heritage, with longtime pizzeria DeLucia's also in town. The margherita at Four Sisters is cheese-crazy and could use more sauce, but the winner here is the Italian Meat Lovers, with prosciutto, pancetta, spicy Genoa salami, sausage and pepperoni. It's a carnivore's vision of the pizza pearly gates.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

38. Mango soft serve, Ernie's Ice Cream Stand, Mahwah

Soft serve gets little respect, at least in New Jersey. "Hard'' ice cream rings up most of the dollars and gets all the publicity. Soft serve? It's regular ice cream's distant and often-neglected cousin, the one that never gets gifts at Christmas. Ernie's is Soft Serve Central, with about 35 flavors available, from amaretto, banana and blackberry to red velvet cake, tiramisu and watermelon. Dulce de leche, German cake, key lime — these are not your usual soft-serve flavors. The mango is cold and bracing, and the chocolate is also recommended.

Ed Murray I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

37. California burger. Carpe Diem, Hoboken

Carpe Diem features a cozy inside bar, an outside patio and an upstairs room for special events. And don't forget the 148 photos on the wall of people who "seized the day" — everyone from Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Neil Armstrong to Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Jackie Chan. The California burger (photo) is a first-rate burger, with cilantro jalapeño sauce for added kick. Also recommended: the wings, with the sweet chili, honey and house sauces, the latter a blend of Frank's Red Hot and honey.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

36. Virginia hot sauce, Uncle Googleberry's, West Amwell

Let's hear it for hot sauces! The best BBQ sauce lineup in N.J. may be the one at Uncle Googleberry's, in the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market just south of Lambertville. The Virginia hot sauce is an attention-getting blend of apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes, among other ingredients. I also liked the sweet and spicy and Carolina sauces. Good ribs, but the pulled pork is the winner here — monstrous, meaty and tender.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

35. Nachos, Blend, Hamilton

Nachos are often a sad restaurant/bar cliché, filled with tired chips and limp jalapenos. Not so at Blend, where the nachos feature hand-cut corn tortilla chips, topped with Monterey and cheddar cheese, fresh pico de gallo and jalapenos. The restaurant/bar was one of 50 semifinalists in our N.J.'s best bar showdown in the summer. Great beer selection here, with 20-plus beers on tap and 150 cans and bottles.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

34. Short rib grilled cheese, Taphouse 15, Jefferson

Call Taphouse 15 craft beer heaven. There are 100-plus brews in all styles, from summery blondes and kolschs to sours, porters and stouts, and you can fashion your own beer flights. We made two stops here during our N.J.'s best bar showdown, and the short rib grilled cheese was the best thing I ate.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

33. Mac Burger, Good Food = Good Mood

Good Food = Good Mood? Good grief! That's a good description for this food truck's Mac Burger (photo), a thick patty with tomato, bacon, good roll and enough fried mac n cheese to feed a backyard barbecue. It's a stunner of a sandwich. Love avocados? The scallion-topped avocado fries are a must.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

32. Taylor ham, egg and cheese, Gronsky's Milk House, High Bridge

There may be no more picturesque breakfast/lunch spot than Gronsky's Milk House, perched along the south branch of the Raritan River. It opened as a convenience store and ice cream shop in 1978 the restaurant was added in 1988. The pork roll sandwich featured a near-perfect roll (so important!), plus three layers of meat and a nice yolky egg. Just looking at it, you know it's going to be good.

31. Banana soft serve, Debbie's Snack Shop, Florence

Debbie's Snack Shop is one of the state's primo soft-serve destinations. There are about 25 flavors on the menu, from amaretto, apricot and banana to peach, pistachio and pina colada. I love the banana soft serve. There are tables outside, but for scenic soft-serve sampling, walk across the street to the riverfront park.

Ed Murray I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

30. Banging mussels, Sharky's Wings & Raw Bar, Clifton

Wings at Sharky's are a given, but don't sleep on the rest of the menu. The banging mussels (photo) lived up to their name. The combination of a hot garlic butter sauce and shaved parmesan had me reaching into the bowl time and again.

Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

29. Shepherd's pie, Old Oar House, Millville

A jersey bearing the name of baseball superstar and hometown hero Mike Trout hangs in The Old Oar House Irish Pub in downtown Millville. The shepherd's pie (photo) is Irish comfort food supreme: A hearty, savory mix of ground beef and vegetables in a heavy brown gravy, topped with homemade mashed potatoes and cheese. The Guinness Stew, with beef, carrots, onions, celery and diced potatoes in a Guinness gravy, is nearly as good.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

28. Empanadas, Nery's Place, Camden

There's plenty of good — and cheap — eating in Camden, if you know where to look. Nery's Place is a pleasant hole-in-the-wall with five kinds of empanadas: beef, steak, pork, cheese and chicken. The empanadas are bigger and thinner than normal, and they're flavor-packed with juicy, moist meat. I sampled each in my car, then finished off the rest for dinner the following night. They were just as good as the day before.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

27. Chicken souvlaki, Bill's Gyros Souvlaki, Atlantic City

Bill's Gyros Souvlaki is my new favorite AC boardwalk hangout. It's been open since 1967. Call it a Greek diner — long counter, stools — with flags of many countries and what is surely the biggest liquor selection of any gyro joint in the world (you can drink there, or get packaged goods to go). The chicken souvlaki is a standout, and the Greek salad is better than most any Greek diner's version. Bill's, just south of Ripley's Believe It or Not, is open 24/7. Believe that or not.

Saturdays are for burnt ends!! Made a tremendous batch today ! Perfect weather for Minigolf and bbq. #njbbq #smokedbrisket #burntends #minigolf #outdoorseating #byob #familyfun

Posted by TST BBQ on Saturday, July 27, 2019

26. Burnt ends, TSTBBQ, Leonardo

"Texas style BBQ with a New Jersey attitude'' is the slogan at TSTBBQ, headquartered at Hole in One Miniature Golf on Route 36 East. The golf course has been open 20-plus years TSTBBQ the past four. The menu includes burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, ribs and bacon-wrapped onion rings. The ribs, with tender, juicy meat, are good, but the highlight here are the burnt ends, available Saturdays only.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

25. Mama's Balls, Mama's Meatballs

That's not a misprint. Mama's Meatballs is the name of the truck, and Mama's Balls is one of several meatballs available. The meatballs are from a recipe of the owner's grandmother — her visage appears on the bright red truck. There's the Rocky Ball Boa (sweet sausage, sauteed peppers, provolone, onions, topped with arugula, parmesan and marinara), the Spicey Ball (spicy sausage, long hots, jalapeno cheddar, arugula, parmesan, marinara) and my favorite, Mama's Balls (veal, beef, pork, marinara, arugula, parmesan). All proved to be Italian grandma-worthy.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

24. Chocolate shake, Shore Shake

Shakes are food, too, of the liquid variety. "Helping restore the Shore, one shake at a time'' is the slogan of Shore Shake, which offers traditional (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry) and offbeat flavors, such as Coco Tropicale (coconut milk, pineapple, mango, Thai basil, lime zest), the Garden State (coconut water, romaine, spinach, apple, avocado, parsley, lemon) and the Shore Shake (almond milk, banana, cocoa, cinnamon, honey). All shakes contain house-made ice cream. The chocolate shake made this chocoholic swoon with desire. I sampled them at a food truck festival in Brick over the summer.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

23. Pork stew, Juanito lunch truck, Port Newark

Gritty neighborhood and good, cheap food. That sums up the food truck scene at Port Newark/Port Elizabeth. Juanito, on Marsh Street, is one of my top two or three. The chicken stew (pollo guisado) and pork stew (photo) are highly recommended: hearty and savory. They both make for great comfort food, Port style. Don't go looking for a website or official Facebook page for Juanito there aren't any.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

22. Brisket sandwich, Bobcat's Texas BBQ, Ramsey

The brisket sandwich at Bobcat's (at rear in photo) is the bomb — fat, bursting with juicy meat and burnt ends. The pulled pork sandwich (left in photo) is nearly as memorable, and the ribs are finger-lickin' good. It also offers nice spry BBQ sauce and fresh, crunchy coleslaw. "Bobcat" was the nickname for Lisa Johnson's father. She grew up in Sealy, Texas and eventually moved east and opened Bobcat's. "I'm a country gal serving 100% Texas barbecue," she says.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

21. Wings with West Texas mesquite dry rub, Wings Over Rutgers, New Brunswick

Nothing ruins wings more than a drippy, goopy sauce, which is why I usually order my wings with sauce on the side, or dry-rubbed. There are Wings Over locations in 16 states and a mere 19 sauces and six dry rubs on the menu. The wings are nice and fat no scrawny bar wings here. The West Texas Mesquite dry rub wings (foreground in photo) are highly recommended.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

20. Taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwich, True Salvage Cafe, Maplewood

True Salvage Cafe at first glance looks like a second hand or collectibles store, with cookbooks, classic rock LPs and an old-time bicycle among the furnishings. There's a kitchen back there somewhere, and the Taylor ham, egg and cheese that issued forth was a thing of beauty — a roll from Balthazar, a fat fluffy egg and four layers of meat.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

19. Torta, Tacos al Carbon, Hammonton

Tacos al Carbon makes good tacos, but go there for the tortas. They're huge and tasty besides, jammed with meat, tomatoes and avocados. The truck is located on Peach Street in Hammonton.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

18. Midnight cocoa ice cream, Milk Sugar Love, Jersey City

I remember when Emma Taylor's Milk Sugar Love amounted to a small cart, which she would wheel around to events in Jersey City. Now she has two ice cream shops in JC, a truck and a reputation as one of the state's top ice cream makers. Milk Sugar Love was one of the 10 finalists in our N.J.'s best ice cream shop/stand showdown several years ago. Her flavors are fun and fantastic — lemon olive oil, summer blueberries and corn, midnight cocoa (photo) and more. Her chocolate peppermint ice cream was the best thing I ate in all of 2013. It's on the current menu.

Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

17. Bloody Mary oysters, 16 Prospect, Westfield

When I posted a photo of 16 Prospect's Bloody Mary oysters (photo) on Twitter, many folks freaked out. Apparently you're not supposed to drizzle vodka on oysters. Too bad. They tasted great.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

16. Brisket, Local Smoke, Neptune

I've been a longtime fan of Local Smoke, and the BBQ joint has serious cred in barbecue circles. It won the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship overall title in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Its rib won the best pork award in the Craft Beer & BBQ Festival at Monmouth Park over the Labor Day weekend, but I — one of the judges — thought the brisket (photo) was the day's highlight.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

15. Banh mi tacos, Santeria Taqueria, Seaside Heights

Santeria Taqueria ended up #2 in the 2019 edition of my best boardwalk eats list. It may be the coolest spot on any Jersey boardwalk. Murals, including one of Biggie Smalls (take the obligatory selfie) decorate the walls, and dig the crazy yard sale-meets-Victorian Age furniture. Behind the venture are the owners of Park Seafood and Chop Shop BBQ, plus chef Rico Gomez. These aren't your grandma's tacos. The ones in the photo, counterclockwise from bottom left, are the carne asada, banh mi (cola braised pork belly, pickled watermelon rind, radish, cilantro), The Leftover (fried avocado, black beans, cojita, chili crema, cilantro) and al pastor.

Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

14. Pork dumplings, k-pop!, Ocean City

k-pop! sounds like, well, kpop (Korean pop music), not a food stand. But it's another of those under-the-radar places that get lost amid the onslaught of boardwalk pizzerias, cheesesteak joints and lemonade stands. The slogan is "Korean fusion BBQ." The menu includes rice bowls, poke bowls, Korean fried chicken and the sweetest little dumplings (photo) you'll find on any boardwalk. Good luck being satisfied with just one order.


Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

This recipe was inspired by a grandma who always loves to throw together a bowl of her famous "bean stew" for her family. Not one, but two Eat This, Not That! editors said that Pasta Fagioli is easily one of grandma's favorite recipes.

Get our recipe for Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli.


Six simple ways to smarter, healthier eating


Image: Bigstock

To eat a healthier diet, you need to combine nutritional science, a jolt of common sense, and pure enjoyment. Most of us know that fresh salad, berries, and slowing down when eating are better for us than wolfing down energy bars and sweets. But how to make that leap from our current habits to healthier ones?

Here are six ways you can eat healthy, delicious meals, and really enjoy what you're eating.

1) Ditch fats that are solid at room temperature

This simple change reduces saturated fat in your diet.

How: Switch to the healthy fats such as olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil that stay in a liquid form when stored in the cupboard. But all fats have a high caloric density, so just use what you need for cooking and salad dressings.

2) Harness the power of nuts (and seeds)

Almonds, cashews, filberts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios pack plenty of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. Although many nuts are high in fat, the fat is mainly unsaturated — a great choice to help you eat healthy.

How: First, put nuts on the grocery list. Nuts are high in calories, so it's best to enjoy them in place of other snacks, not in addition, and to keep serving sizes small.

3) Taste food before you salt it

Break the autopilot habit of reaching for the salt shaker to help you eat healthy.

How: For two days, don't put any salt on your food at all. A short break can help reset your taste buds. Then, leave the salt shaker in the cabinet, so it becomes a bit of an effort to reach for it. Make a ritual out of truly tasting your food before you decide if it needs tweaking.

4) Pack lunch once a week

This makes healthy food choices readily available to you at work or on an outing. And since you are controlling portion sizes, you can make sure that you're not supersizing your meal. Plus, it saves you money.

How: Once a week before you shop for groceries, write out a meal plan that leaves enough leftovers for one or two lunches.

5) Eat five (or more) vegetables and fruits a day

It's a nutrient-packed way to fill your plate that is generally low in calories.

How: First, for one week, keep track of how often you eat fruits and vegetables. One serving equals one-half cup of chopped fruit or most vegetables for raw leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Once you have your baseline, try adding one fruit or vegetable serving a day.

6) Plan meals that are delightful, delicious and healthy

In an ideal world, food delights all our senses: it looks beautiful, smells heavenly, and tastes delicious, and its textures feel and even sound satisfying. Start thinking about food as something to really savor and enjoy.

How: Pencil in time to prepare and savor one or two special meals a week. Once you've assembled great ingredients, set a gorgeous table. Take a moment to truly take in scents, companions, and surroundings, and if you like, give thanks.

For 42 simple changes to help you exercise more, eat healthier, stress less, and live a happier, more fulfilling life, review Simple Changes, Big Rewards from Harvard Medical School.

Image: marilyna/Getty Images


39 Crock-Pot Recipes That’ll Last You All Week

Cooking for one means dinner can easily become yet another turkey sandwich or bowl of cereal. Yawn. Instead of letting the single life rob you of delicious meals, whip up one of these amazing Crock-Pot recipes. If you prep and cook on the weekend, you’ll have killer leftovers that make worrying about weeknight meals a thing of the past. You can also freeze single portions—because who wants to eat the exact same meal five days in a row?

You might like

Whether you’re a die-hard ramen fan or you like to keep things vegetarian, we’ve got you covered. And since the Crock-Pot does most of the work, you’ll suddenly have tons more free time to go for a run, meditate, or catch up on Last Week Tonight.

1. Healthy Chicken Ramen Bowl

Instant noodle bowls may be reminiscent of dorm dinners, but there’s something about the salty soup that’s undeniably delicious. For a healthier alternative that’s nearly as easy, try this recipe which calls on the slow cooker to do all the heavy lifting. Even the soft boiled eggs get cooked right in the broth.

2. Turkey Taco Chili

Chili is one of the greatest comfort foods out there. This recipe is an easy version that’s filled with lean protein from turkey and lots of filling fiber from beans and corn, so you can eat a bowl without feeling like you’re going to burst. Simply brown the meat, add it to the Crock-Pot with the rest of the ingredients, and then forget about it for a couple of hours.

3. Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This smart soup is packed with veggies and a flavorful broth to give you a perfect balance of healthy and tasty. It’s also filled with chicken, so don’t worry, you won’t be skimping on a hearty, protein-packed meal if you opt for this lighter soup instead.

4. Tangy Crock-Pot Turkey Meatballs

Nothing says Sunday dinner like some hearty meatballs. Unfortunately the process of rolling and cooking them can eat up the middle of the day, which is why this recipe is perfect for a weekend dedicated to catching up on some chores—or Netflix. Prep the meatballs in the morning and they’ll slowly cook all day.

5. Coconut-Cilantro Chicken

Ever get tired of plain chicken? We do too, but this recipe is far from boring and super easy to prepare. The sweet coconut and savory cilantro combo mix with cumin, coriander, and curry to create a dish that shocks your taste buds and keeps you excited with every bite. Not to mention, the whole meal takes only seven steps to make. What could be better?

6. 5-Ingredient Thai Turkey Legs

Who says turkey is only for Thanksgiving? With 25 grams of protein in three ounces of breast meat, it’s a great choice any time of the year. Cooking the bird in broth with coconut milk keeps it moist and lets it soak up some of the sweet flavor. This may not be your typical turkey dinner, but it’s easier (and tastier, in our opinion).

7. Chicken Tinga Tacos With Bacon Pico De Gallo

Braised chicken tacos from a Mexican restaurant might be delicious, but why not bring the fiesta home? A simple sauce comes together in the blender and then gets the low and slow treatment with some chicken thighs. Garnish choices are only limited by your imagination. Bacon pico de gallo? We’re in.

8. 5-Ingredient Jerk Chicken

Capture the taste of Jamaica by blending up a sauce of habañeros, spices, ginger, and pineapple juice. It’s sweet, spicy, and insanely good. And with just five ingredients, it couldn’t get much easier to prepare.

9. Greek-Style Green Beans and Chicken Thighs

Greek-style anything is good in our books, but this easy recipe will turn your boring chicken into a fancy dinner in no time. In just five steps from beginning to end, you’ll be ready to serve this Greek dish for everyone. Bada bing bada boom.

10. Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts lover? You need this recipe. It’ll probably even convince the sprout haters to join your side. Slow cooking the sprouts is easier and more flavorful because the whole time they’re in the crockpot, they’re soaking up all the extra spices so they’ll be ready to serve when you pull them out.

11. Slow Cooker Dal

Creamy, fragrant dal is the chicken soup of Indian cooking. Bring the exotic flavors home by cooking up a batch in the Crock-Pot with ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, and some greens. A final flourish of lemon and cilantro completes the meal, which is a good source of fiber and protein.

12. Vegan Bolognese

Tomato and basil sauce is never as hearty as a meat ragu, sadly. But you can get the same texture, and a lot more staying power, by filling up with this Bolognese loaded with mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, and eggplant. Chop the veggies in the food processor, add to the Crock-Pot with the rest of the ingredients, and set it to cook. There’s plenty of time to run errands.

13. Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Canned soup is convenient, but it also often comes with corn syrup and potassium chloride. No thanks. Peeling tomatoes and roasting garlic for this recipe take a little bit of prep time, but it’s pretty much no-maintenance after that. High in lycopene that could help prevent a stroke Dietary and Circulating Lycopene and Stroke Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Li, X., Xu, J. Scientific Reports, 2014 May 224:5031″>Dietary and Circulating Lycopene and Stroke Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Li, X., Xu, J. Scientific Reports, 2014 May 224:5031, tomatoes have a tangy and sweet flavor that’s perfect in this soup.

14. Crock-Pot Vegetable Curry With Tofu

For a vegetarian entrée with some serious staying power, try this vegetarian curry. It’s filled with veggies for tons of vitamins and antioxidants, chickpeas for protein, and a little bit of apple for natural sweetness. Get creative with the leftovers: Serve on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, add an egg on top, or even pureé it with a little water to transform it into soup.

15. Tom Kha Gai

Thom Kha Gai soup is filled with sweet, spicy, and sour flavors that make it a favorite at Thai restaurants. A slow-cooker version makes it easy enough to enjoy at home all the time. Add tofu, vegetable stock, coconut milk, and a bunch of seasonings to the insert and let it cook. Forget takeout, this is make-in goodness.

16. Potato, White Bean, and Kale Vegan Soup

Beans and potatoes will fill you up in this hearty soup, and there’s loads of vitamins thanks to the kale. The recipe includes steps for garlic-rosemary crostini to top it all off, but if you don’t have time, any quality loaf of bread makes a delicious dunker.

17. Parmesan-Baked Veggie Quinoa

Packed with beans, mushrooms, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccoli, this casserole brings serious flavor and loads of texture. The quinoa and beans alone provide about 10 grams of protein per serving to keep you satisfied, and a final sprinkle of Parmesan sends it over the top. It’s a natural for dinner but also perfect for lunch and breakfast.

18. Easy Crock-Pot Borscht

It’s time for beets to get some attention outside the realm of salads and this old-school soup does the trick. Sauté some veggies and caraway, then add them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Beets and cabbage provide lots of filling fiber and give this soup just enough sweetness. Sour cream is a traditional topper, but Greek yogurt works just as well.

19. One-Pan Mexican Quinoa

You’ve probably had Mexican rice, but what about Mexican quinoa? This Crock-Pot recipe makes getting dinner on the table really easy. A combo of peppers, corn, black beans, and cheese ensures it’s as tasty as it is healthy. Leftovers can easily morph into burritos and tacos.

20. Spanish Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

There’s nothing wrong with traditional stuffed peppers, but this version seriously amps up the flavor. Mix up some quinoa, salsa, and black beans for a filling that’s far from ordinary. Tip: Pick different colored peppers for a rainbow effect.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vladia Cobrdova is a nutritionist, recipe developer and Wellness Ambassador for About Life, Australia's largest wholefoods retail chain. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Vladia first saw and tasted avocados and mangoes when she came to Australia as an au pair. She started working at a juice bar and health food shop called About Life when she was studying to be a nutritionist. Fourteen years later that business is now the largest retailer of health food in Australia and Vladia develops the recipes for the business. She's still blown away by the taste of avocados and mangoes.


Symphony of the Seas Dining Guide

The Main Dining Rooms

Symphony of the Seas has not one but three main dining rooms. Found on Decks 3-5, these venues offer a complimentary multi-course dinner that changes every night of your cruise. There is traditional early and late seatings as well as My Time Dining. Some of our favorite menu items included Roasted Lamb Shank and Chicken Marsala.

One deck of the dining room is open every morning for breakfast for 2 hours. On sea days, there is also a sit-down lunch in the main dining room. For our menus, Day 6 and Day 7 were switched for Thanksgiving. Lobster night will regularly occur on Day 6 for a Western Caribbean Itinerary.

Deck 5

Sorrento’s, your onboard pizza parlor, is open most days from 11:30 am to 3 am. This venue serves up pre-made slices of classic favorites like pepperoni and cheese in addition to daily specials. The lines here do get long, especially around all aboard times during port days. On Symphony of the Seas, there is also a small antipasto bar with a variety of vegetable appetizers to compliment your pieces of fresh pie.

Cafe Promenade

Located on the Royal Promenade, this cafe is open 24 hours a day. In the morning, selections include small breakfast pastries and bread, which are perfect for a quick meal to go. During the day and evening, small sandwiches, including the King Arthur roast beef sandwich, are available. Cookies and small pastries are also here for most of the day, along with coffee and tea for that extra pick me up.

Deck 6

Boardwalk Dog House

One of my favorite stops for a midday snack is the Boardwalk Dog House. This stand, located on the Boardwalk, is home to 4 varieties of dogs and sausages. Open most days from 11 am to 5 pm, it serves up these favorites with select toppings and small sides like potato salad. The real draw is the hot and juicy Smokehouse and the Big Apple.

Vitality Cafe

This venue, located in the Spa, offers healthy complimentary and a la carte items. These include homemade granola bars, small muffins, and finger foods during the day. For those health conscious cruisers, the fresh juices and smoothies might be exactly what you need as a pre or post workout meal. The Vitality Cafe also offers Powerade, Vitamin Water, and Red Bull which are covered in the Deluxe Beverage Package.

Deck 8

Open for a quick service style breakfast or lunch, we liken the Park Cafe to a Panera Bread at sea. For breakfast, you can enjoy hot sandwiches, oatmeal, make your own bagel bar, fresh fruit cups, and more.

In the afternoon, you can enjoy fresh paninis, custom salads, or the famous Royal Kummelweck roast beef sandwich. This venue is the perfect alternative to the busy Windjammer buffet. Park Cafe is open most days for breakfast from 7 am to 11 am, and for lunch from noon to 6 pm.

Deck 15

Solarium Bistro

This specialty restaurant is both healthy and included in your cruise fare. That is a win-win if you ask us. With a set menu, you can make reservations pre-cruise to dine here. It takes a while for other cruisers to discover this restaurant which features an appetizer buffet and a Greek-inspired menu.

During the day, the Bistro offers an also complimentary breakfast and lunch buffet, which serves most of the same fare found in the Windjammer.

El Loco Fresh

Offering a variety of Tex-Mex favorites complete with a salsa bar and outdoor seating, everything about this daytime venue is fresh. You can even spice up breakfast with a few unique offerings, like Ranchero Eggs and Salsa Rojo, along with scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, and pastries. For lunch, there is a make your own fajita bar, freshly wrapped burritos, or you can customize a salad with beef, pork, or chicken. We enjoyed this venue as another great alternative to the buffet.

For breakfast, the venue opened between 7 am and 8 am and closed by 10 am. For lunch, El Loco Fresh was usually open from noon to 5:45 pm.

Deck 16

Windjammer Cafe

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this casual buffet restaurant has it all. For breakfast, the Windjammer offers your typical fare, with a custom-made omelet station (all the way aft), pastries, pancakes, waffles, and a variety of breakfast meats. For lunch, the grill is open, as is the custom pasta station. A complete salad bar and other rotational warm entrees as part of the International corner change regularly. For dinner, you can expect a variety of different seafood, beef, and poultry options, along with similar stations that are also open during lunch.


How to eat well for £20 a week – and it’s recipes all the family can enjoy

PREPARING tasty meals doesn’t have to be expensive. You can meal-prep like a pro and shop smart to still eat healthy meals on a budget.

Gone are the days where eating on a budget meant munching on turkey twirlers and smiley-faced potatoes.

It’s now easy to achieve better health through diet by cooking up easy, healthy meals and still saving money on your weekly supermarket bills.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer from Feel Alive UK , makers of a range of evidence back nutrients – Alive! with 26 fruit and vegetables says:“Living Healthily for £20 per week is £2.85 per day! While it might take a little more planning, it can definitely be achieved.

“There’s lots of health-giving meals on a £20 per week budget.”

Here, Clinical Nutritionist Suzie shares her top tips to help eat well for £20 a week - and it’s meals the whole family can enjoy too…

WEEKLY MEAL PLANNING

Suzie says it is impossible to stick to a budget without a plan.

She says: “A plan - even if not on a really restrictive budget - will help you choose healthier options and ensure good variety.

“The more variety and colour variations, the more nutrients you’ll be consuming.”

DON’T SHOP WHEN HUNGRY

A simple yet effect tip to eat well on a budget, advises Suzie, is to not shop when you're hungry.

She says: “You’ll end up loading the trolley with snacks you don’t need and buying appealing and easy ready meals which could blow the budget.

“Ready meals are often high in sugar, salt and flavourings which won’t satiate appetite for long, hence you’ll be reaching for the snacks again.”

GET THE STAPLES RIGHT

Nutritionist Susie says shoppers will get lots of ‘bang for their buck’ when purchasing whole grain foods on their weekly food shop.

“Buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, oats and whole wheat pasta contain plenty of nutrients because they’ve not been refined,” explains Suzie.

“They are high in protein and in fibre so they’ll fill you up and keep you feeling full, so you’ll eat less.

“You get lots of bang for your buck with these foods and they’re incredibly versatile.”

EAT SEASONALLY

Locally-sourced produce and farmers markets tend to be cheaper because they’ve not travelled half way around the world to get to your plate, explains Suzie.

“Plus, they’ll be richer in nutrients,” she says.

She also suggested people purchase ‘imperfect’ fruit and veg from the supermarket as it’s a great way to eat well on a budget plus it saves the pennies too.

“Many supermarkets are now selling imperfect fruits and vegetables really cheaply as people don’t want to buy them because they don’t look as good.”

SUZIE'S BUDGET HEALTHY MEAL SUGGESTIONS

  • Overnight oats - Soaked overnight in a little apple juice, served with a scoop of natural yoghurt and sliced banana. (Approx. 0.50p per serving)
  • Two slices of wholemeal brown bread with half smashed avocado. (Approx. 0.70p per serving)
  • Tarka dhal - make 4-6 servings. (Approx. 0.30 p per serving)
  • Bombay potato cakes. (Approx. 0.35 p per serving)
  • Mediterranean-style veggie pasta using dried pasta, onion, tinned tomatoes, mixed beans, basil, carrots, garlic, vegetable stock, and parmesan cheese. (Approx. 0.58 p per serving)
  • Lentil spaghetti Bolognese - less than £1 per serving
  • Sweet potato and chicken curry -- less than £1 per serving

LOAD UP ON BEANS AND LENTILS

Suzie says beans and lentils are super cheap to buy and they can be chucked in with multiple family dinner recipes to make meals go further.

She says: “Beans and lentils are incredibly cheap to buy - beans are even cheaper bought dry and then soaked before using, and are great sources of protein.”

“Whole grain oats, nut butters and quinoa are also other staple, budget friendly must-haves for the cupboard.”

Suzie also shared her top recommendations for staple budget-friendly foods to keep in the fridge and cupboard.

For protein, the nutritionist suggested supermarket own brand eggs and either chicken or lamb livers as they can be used to create high protein, low fat, rich vitamin A meals.

Whole chickens are a cheap and easy way to feed a family and last a number of meals while smoked mackerel fillets have super healthy omega-3 fats and make great lunches.

The nutritionist from Feel Alive UK, says tinned baked beans, sweat potatoes, onions, bananas and frozen peas are also family food staples that come within a £20 budget.

And when choosing dairy options, Suzie advised supermarket own brand natural yoghurt as it’s essential for overall great health - and cheap!


Watch the video: Mein Essen, meine Identität. Die Ernährung als Spiegelbild der Gesellschaft. Doku. SRF Dok (December 2021).