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Herald the season of sensible eating

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You may have been too busy reveling to notice, but at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, we entered not only a new year, but also the Season of Sensible Eating. Say goodby to the decadent fancy foods of which we've been sampling nonstop for the past six weeks. Say so long to the butter, cream, hearty meat dishes and cheese and get ready for Spa Cuisine.

Clean and fresh tasting, people pay big bucks for healthful spa cuisine at health resorts. You don't have to be rich or famous or even wanting to lose weight to enjoy this rejuvenating style of eating. What's more your whole family will enjoy and benefit from eating in this style.

Spa cuisine foods are flavored with herbs, spices and citrus, rather than butter and cream. It is lighter fare - but still satisfying and a delight to the senses.

Portion control is critical - gone is the super sized portion. Gone is also family style serving - plate your food in the kitchen and be conscious of the presentation.

The presentation of spa cuisine dishes is very important for a number of reasons. Garnishes take up space on the plate, tricking you into thinking you are consuming more food. Use citrus zest as well as the fruit as even a curled strand of citrus peel adds scent and color to the plate.

Pay attention to contrasts in colors and textures. An sliced orange atop a dark green leaf of kale with a scattering of pomagrante seeds is much more attractive than an orange cut in quarters and tossed in a bowl.

Think of ways to present that same old chicken breast in a totally new fashion. You can cut a chicken breast into three pieces vertically or 6 slices horizontally. Place sauted mushrooms or bell peppers between the slices, rather than piling the food into separate stacks on the plate. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs or even create a wreath of herbs around the entrée. Don't scrimp on the creativity!

Thinking we might need a little help getting started eating lighter foods, I contacted Norma Kayte O'Dell, Certified Nutritional Therapist and owner of Nutritional Therapy 1 to 1 in Lake Oswego for advise.

'The holidays cause us to eat and drink too much,' she said. 'It can feel like we've consumed 50 pounds of sugar in three weeks. You don't feel good. Your brain feels foggy and you've probably gained a few pounds. Lots of people choose to go on a diet January 1. A good place to start is by eliminating all the things you've been eating like processed foods, sugar and alcohol.'

Norma advises that we eat as much raw, whole and organic foods as possible, drink more water and build up our immune systems with nutrients, minerals and essential fatty acids like flax seed oil and nuts and seeds. She suggests we start each dy with a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice to kickstart the liver, which plays a major part in metabolism and detoxification. She warns against fad cleanses or detox diets as they don't work long term and can cause more problems than they solve.

And, as you might expect she advises that we get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. You can learn more about Nutritional Therapy 1 to 1 and Norma's 12-week program incorporating the elements of health and weight loss on her Web site, www.NutritionalTherapy1to1.com or by calling 971-227-9919.

Whether your goal is to lose 30 pounds or just the holiday fluff, you will be successful if you are deliberate in your actions. Follow the example of those with lactose or gluten intolerances - if they veer from their prescribed food list, they suffer physically. Think how beneficial it would be if you adhered as strictly to a diet of spa cuisine.

The recipes included today are delicious, healthful and quick cooking. Here's wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2009 and a pretty plate everyday!

Bon Appetit! Eat Healthfully!

Turkey Breast Medallions with Tomato Jam

Makes 4 servings

For tomato jam:

4 plum tomatoes, (about 12 ounces to measure 2 ½ cups) cored and diced

½ cup white distilled vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried tarragon

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For turkey medallions:

1 pound turkey breast

½ cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon chili powder

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

To make tomato jam: In medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture is a thick, jam-like consistency, about 1 to 2 hours.

To make turkey: Slice turkey breast diagonally into eight 2 ounce portions. Pound these with meat mallet between sheets of wax paper to ½ inch thick.

In shallow glass baking pan, combine flour, polenta, cumin, chili powder, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

In a large stainless steel sauté pan over medium heat warm oil. Dredge turkey medallions in seasoned polenta mixture, add to pan and cook, working in two batches if necessary, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

To serve, place one turkey medallions on each plate, top with 2 tablespoons tomato jam, and place second medallion on top.

Tips: the tomato jam can be made two or three days ahead of time and stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently before serving.

Nutritional information: Each serving contains approximately 260 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 28 g protein, 284 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Canyon Ranch Spa

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Five:30

A five-ingredient entrée ready in 30 minutes or less.

Firecracker Spinach Salad

with Orange Sesame Dressing

Okay, the dressing has more than 5 ingredients, but it should make enough for more than one salad. Use whatever greens and sprouts you like in place of the spinach.

Orange Sesame Dressing

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (optional)

1 shallot, chopped

2 teaspoons grated fresh garlic

Salad

6 cups washed baby spinach

¼ cup daikon sprouts

¼ cup julienned carrot

¼ cup julienned jicama

2 tablespoons mixture of black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

For the dressing, cook the orange juice in a saucepan until reduce by half. Combine the honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, water and hot sauce in a blender. Add the shallot and ginger and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

For the salad, mix the spinach, daikon sprouts, carrot and jicama in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat well. Garnish with the sesame seeds.

Nutritional information: 111 calories, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 5 g fat, 2 gr fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium.

Cal-a-Vie Living: Gourmet Spa Cuisine, March 2007