Even “Dummies” Can Have a Slimmer Tummy This Holiday Season

December 2, 2013

Etta's Seafood Dungeness Crab Benedict

I know that dieting is pretty much out of the question during the hectic holiday season, but a new book entitled, “Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies,” is chock full of helpful hints on how to at least make that spare tire around your waist a little less obvious.

“No one is claiming the holidays are a time to embark full force on a weight-loss plan, but neither do you want to show up in your cute party dress with a bloated belly,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, coauthor along with Tara Gidus and Kristina LaRue of ‘Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies.’ “There is a balance between enjoying the season and overindulging—and it begins with a working knowledge of foods and drinks that are and aren’t waistline-friendly.”

According to the press release which announced the book’s debut, some foods and drinks can bloat your belly almost instantly by increasing gas in your digestive tract, causing your abdomen to look distended. This condition can be uncomfortable, but the good news is it’s only temporary.

“When you have an event coming up where you want your midsection to look as slim as possible, such as a holiday cocktail party, it’s usually best to avoid these foods for a few days beforehand,” says Gidus. “Keep reminding yourself how great you’re going to look in that little black dress—for most people, vanity combined with a short-term deadline is more powerful than textbooks full of information on how to achieve long-term health!”

In Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies®, Palinski-Wade, Gidus, and LaRue (all of whom are recognized nutrition experts) share everything you need to know to shed fat and tone your midsection.

However, if you have time for only a crash course before facing off with an array of tempting holiday choices, read on to learn about six of the biggest belly bloaters and where they’re found:

Belly Bloater # 1: Sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes that are only partially digested in your body. Because of this, they provide fewer calories per gram than regular sugar. They can also cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects such as bloat, gas, and diarrhea, all of which can cause your belly to look and feel distended—and which can put a major cramp in your holiday style.

Belly Bloater # 2: High-sodium foods. Salt may not stand out as a belly bloater because it’s calorie free. But excess sodium causes your body to hold onto water weight, which leaves you feeling bloated and makes it hard to have a flat, toned midsection.

Belly Bloater # 3: Refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs are everywhere you look—they’re found in white rice, white pasta, sugary cereals, enriched-flour crackers, and much more. These grains have been processed and stripped of the outermost and innermost layers of grain, leaving all the carbohydrates and calories, but little of the protein, fiber, and nutrients. While this type of processing allows grains to be digested rapidly, they provide little in the way of fullness after eating. In addition, their rapid digestion leads to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, causing additional fat storage right where you want it least—your belly!

Belly Bloater # 4: Processed meats. Meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are high in sodium and saturated fats. Because sodium causes your body to retain excess water, this alone can bloat your belly. But combine that with a high intake of inflammation-promoting saturated fat, and you have a recipe for excess belly fat.

Belly Bloater # 5: Carbonated beverages. Carbonation is mostly just water, and it’s typically calorie free, so it seems innocent enough—especially when you’re not even consuming it in a soda!—but it can really bloat your belly.

Belly Bloater # 6: Soda. Although this popular beverage is a staple in most restaurants and homes (and at most holiday parties), it’s a big belly bloater. For one thing, soda contains gas-producing carbonation. Even more potent is its main ingredient, sugar, making it a rich source of empty calories that don’t provide any fullness. And finally, soda sparks a spike in blood sugar, which is followed by an insulin spike, leading to excessive belly fat storage.

“When it comes to staying healthy over the holidays, forewarned is forearmed,” concludes Gidus. “Before walking into a situation where you know there will be food, review your goals and strategies.”

Free, Interactive eCookbook Available from Visit Seattle

November 4, 2013

Fresh from seattle ecookbook cover northwest wining and dining

Visit Seattle has launched a free interactive eCookbook that highlights a range of talented chefs and signature Pacific Northwest cuisine. “Fresh From Seattle” features 26 recipes from 12 noteworthy contributing local chefs, including award winners such as Tom Douglas, Maria Hines, and Thierry Rautureau.

The 92-page eCookbook is a rich compilation of recipes, cooking and storage tips, color photos, food history, chef bios, and more.

Fresh from seattle salmon northwest wining and dining

Seattle chefs contributed original recipes, as well as personal restaurant favorites, that are designed to pique the culinary curiosity of the inspired home chef. In addition to Seattle celebrity chefs, the cookbook also features acclaimed hotel chefs.

Fresh From Seattle is available here, where it is downloadable as a PDF or you can link to Apple iTunes App Store for download. Both options are free of charge.

“Between Seattle’s creative chefs and welcoming hospitality community, we formed the perfect marriage for this project,” said Ali Daniels, Vice President, Marketing, Visit Seattle. “We are a city of gourmands, constantly exploring and finding new ways to share the inspired culinary offerings of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s vibrant food culture just has to be shared, and ‘Fresh From Seattle’ does just that.”

Fresh from seattle ecookbook crab cakes northwest wining and dining

“Fresh From Seattle” eCookbook contributing chefs and recipes:

Thierry Rautureau – Luc and Loulay

Northwest Wild Mushroom Salad, Toasted Hazelnut, Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Neah Bay Wild Coho Salmon with Moroccan Olive Tapenade

Skagit Valley Savory Strawberry & Red Wine Soup

Tom Douglas – Tom Douglas Restaurant Group

Tom’s Tasty Sashimi Tuna Salad with Green Onion Pancakes

Peak of the Season Crisp with Brown Sugar Oats

Etta’s Rub with Love Salmon with Grilled Shiitake Relish

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Maria Hines – Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle

Skagit River Ranch Wagyu Beef Tartare with Dijon and Grilled Romaine

Loki Fishing Vessel Seared Sockeye Salmon with Sweet Corn Salsa

Oxbow Farm Mixed Summer Squash Salad with Parmesan, Hazelnuts and Truffle Vinaigrette

Daisley Gordon – Marche, Café Campagne

Warm Potato & Salmon Roe Salad

Marché Mackerel

Pernod Mussels

Salad Marché

Sarah Lorenzen – Andaluca

Chorizo and Clam Fettuccini

Pavlova with Lemon Cream and Fresh Berries

Gavin Stephenson – The Georgian

Rooftop Honey-Smoked Salmon

The Georgian Black and White Chocolate Soufflé

Kerry Sear – ART Restaurant

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad

Grass-Baked Chicken

Sean Pals – Brella’s Restaurant & Lounge

Grilled Peach Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Thomas Horner – Hook & Plow

Razor Clam, Local Sausage, White Bean & Kale Stew

Peter Birk – BOKA restaurant + bar

Roasted Quail with Bluebird Grain Farms Farro

Preston Hagan – Jimmy’s on First

Jimmy’s Bloody Bakon Martini

Chris Lobkovich – Bookstore Bar & Café

Fiddlehead Fern Salad

Debut of an Important New Cookbook: “Roots”

September 28, 2012

My good buddy and fellow cookbook author, Portland, Ore.-based Diane Morgan, has just release her 14th book, and it’s a dandy.

For anyone who has ever picked up a strangely shaped, gnarly looking vegetable at the farmers’ market (in the author’s case, burdock root) and said, “What’s this?,” “Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More than 225 Recipes,” is the ultimate go-to guide to the hearty, healthful, nutrition-packed, budget-friendly veggies found underground.

“Roots” uncovers everything from beets and potatoes to jicama and salsify to such relatively unknown specimens as cassava, galangal, and crosnes. Discover the fascinating history and lore of each one, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them, and—the best part—more than 225 simple yet creative recipes that bring out their best flavors.

Good news is, Diane will be here promoting her new book beginning this Sunday, September 30. Here’s a list of her upcoming Seattle appearances throughout the holiday season s0 you can meet her and have your book personally autographed by the master herself.

Welcome to Seattle, Diane!


Sunday, September 30, noon to 2:00pm

Book signing/tasting, free

Metropolitan Market at Proctor (Tacoma)

Sunday, September 30, 4:00 to 6:00pm

Book signing/tasting, free

Metropolitan Market Admiral (West Seattle)

Monday, October 1, 6:30 to 9:30pm

Hands-On Cooking Class/Dinner, $70

The Pantry at Delancey

Seattle, WA

Tuesday, October 2, 11:00am to noon

Book signing

Chef’s Collaborative National Summit/Seattle Art Museum

Seattle, WA

Tuesday, October 2, 6:30 to 8:00pm

Demonstration/book signing, free

Book Larder

Seattle, WA

Saturday, October 6, 7:00 to 8:30pm

Book signing/tasting, free

Village Books in Fairhaven

Bellingham, WA

Sunday, October 14, 11:00am to 4:00pm

Book signing/author appearance

Pacific Northwest Book Sellers Trade Show

Tacoma, WA

Wednesday, December 5

Tom Douglas’ 2012 Cookbook Social

The Palace Ballroom, 2100 5th Ave, Seattle

Meet the Author/ Book signing

Thursday, December 6, 7:00pm

Meet the Author/ Book signing, free

Third Place Books

Lake Forest Park, WA

Friday December 7, noon to 2:30pm

Book signing/Q&A

Mrs. Cooks

University Village

James Beard Foundation’s Top-14 Summer Reads

July 13, 2012

Our friends at the James Beard Foundation recommended the “Best Books for the 14 Weeks of Summer,” (ranging from Memorial Day to Labor Day) in the July/August 2012 edition of JBF Events.

The 14 great reads designed for foodies run the gamut from memoirs to fiction, and even natural history. Writers are as current as Gabrielle Hamilton, or as venerated as A.J. Liebling and M.F.K. Fisher.

Selected by an array of culinary experts from the James Beard Foundation Book Awards Committee, this essential list was inspired by the popularity of the Book Committee’s 2010 “The Baker’s Dozen” list, a compilation of 13 essential baking books that spanned almost four decades, from 1973 to 2010.

Here are the 14 selected tomes:

1. The Art of Eating by M. F. K. Fisher (John Wiley & Sons)

2. Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. Liebling (North Point Press)

3. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton (Random House)

4. Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press)

5. A Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester (Picador)

6. An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler (Scribner)

7. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee (Twelve)

8. Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford (Vintage)

9. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin (Vintage)

10. The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten (Vintage)

11. Oranges by John McPhee (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

12. The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark (Ecco Press)

13. Simple Cooking by John Thorne (North Point Press)

14. The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)

And please don’t forget to tuck a copy of my very own “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” into your beach bag, or read the new e-edition on your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.