Thursday, November 26, 2009

Georgie Fear's Dig In: The new easy, fast, tasty, satisfying recipe book from B2D's RD on the go - prelim Review

How many people do you know enjoy eating but are not what you'd call drawn to the kitchen to create tasty nosh for nibbling? For whom a microwave is safe but a stove is one black box too far? Hands up anyone?

If you do know anyone that fits this description, finally there is a very cool, fast, easy, healthy and most of all wonderfully tasty, satisfying cook/recipe book for you - to give to them, of course. Tis the season. It's Georgie Fear's DIG IN.

Georgie is b2d's go to gal on nutrition. Her knowledge has informed critiques of certain diets and more recently opened up discussion on the role (or not) of additional food enzymes for digestion. In Dig In, Georgie shows she not only knows food science, but good food.

I stand amazed at her talent for seemingly seeing a neat can of something interesting on a store shelf and producing a super tasty recipe to include this item. And that's cool: Georgie does not shun the prefab when it's healthy.

Here's an example of Georgie goodness mixing up products:

Calling all nut lovers…..

You just might faint when you try this yummy product! If you love nuts so much you can’t decide between them, some one has developed a delicious answer! It’s called Nuttzo, and it’s a nut butter made from not just peanuts, but cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds hazelnuts, brazil nuts and flax seeds too. Talking about having it all! Nuttzo is made from all organic ingredients with just a touch of sea salt to bring up the flavor. The dose of flaxseeds make it a rich source of omega-3 fats, one that definitely tastes superior to fish oil! Adding nuts to your diet is a great way to get vitamins, minerals, protein and heart healthy fats that help keep you full. I say aim for 1 ounce of nuts, or 2 Tablespoons nut butter for your daily dose.

The crunchy pieces of nuts and flax throughout give Nuttzo lots of texture and crunch, and the jar is cleverly designed with an upside down label for easy stirring. It definitely has a more complex nut flavor than peanut butter, which brings a new side to classics like PB&J. I also used it to whip up some yummy pumpkin nut butter muffins, recipe below. (Now if I could only bottle the smell emanating from my oven…..) Until then, you’ll have to try some Nuttzo to enjoy it yourself.

I found it online, but unfortunately here on the East Coast it isn’t any stores, but you can find it all over California. Best of all, the small company is family based, and supports good causes such as Project Left Behind which offers love, nourishment and care for orphans around the world. If you’re interested in a very unique nut butter with a unique story behind it and a truly heartfelt cause, check out

nuttzo and muffins

Nuttzo Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups Splenda or sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 T canola oil

1/2 cup Nuttzo multi-nut butter


(1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional)

Spray a 12-muffin tin or use paper liners, and preheat oven to 350.

Mix all the dry ingredients (flour through Splenda) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, pumpkin, oil and Nuttzo and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, stirring after each addition. (If desired, add chocolate chips last). Divide batter between muffin cups and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until tops spring back lightly when touched.

Be sure to breathe deep and bask in the pumpkiny, spicy, nutty aroma.

The photos are Georgie's and they're fab. Every dish of every post, and every page comes with real-world, not photoshopped images of what you can expect from the dish.

And for a more strictly from scratch full meal deal, from Georgie's site, how about pot roast? With Georgie, it's SO MUCH easier than we might think:

This slow cooker meal requires very few ingredients and even less work! Meals this effortless feel like cheating. :) But I love ‘em. Using the slow cooker is a great way to cook cuts of meat, like top round, which are low in fat and can end up being too dry for other cooking methods. As an added bonus, the leanest cuts of meat can be among the most affordable, so it’s a win-win-win: get that slow cooker out if you’re lazy, cheap, or want to eat less fat. All three? What are you waiting for?

I put this together one night in just a few minutes, and kept it in the fridge until morning. Then, all I had to do was set the crock to cook on Low, and when I came home… I was welcomed by a delicious aroma filling my home, and a tender, flavorful beef dinner.

The first night I ate it with some plain cooked carrots, but by the second night I had a new idea: to soak up the flavorful broth (which reminded me of French Onion soup) I stirred in half a cup of barley, and let it cook for about 40 minutes. I’ll admit, that was one of my better ideas, because it was perfect. The barley added some whole grain goodness, hearty texture, and filling complex carbs to recharge me after a tough run.

Balsamic and Sweet Onion Pot Roast


1.75 lb top round beef (aka London Broil), trimmed of all fat

Montreal Steak seasoning, paprika, garlic powder

1 tsp canola oil

1 large sweet onion

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup water

Season beef on both sides with steak seasoning, garlic, and paprika. Heat the oil in a large pan until very hot, and brown beef on both sides. Slice the onion into thick rings, and place in bottom of slow cooker. Place meat on top. In a small bowl, stir together tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, and water. Pour over beef. Place lid on crock and cook for 6-8 hours on low.

If desired, add 1/2 cup barley for the last 30-45 minutes. (Stir it into the liquid.)

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition facts (without barley): 290 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 7 grams carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 48 grams protein

How much easier can it get? As Georgie says of her inspiration for Dig In:

I wanted to make recipes that were interesting enough to make you want to eat them, without being so complicated that you don't want to cook them. I try to keep ingredients short, procedures brief. WHen I make muffins: it's dry stuff in one bowl, wet stuff in one bowl, add one to the other. Stir. Bake. I like streamlined, so if I dont think it makes a difference, say, what order you add ingredients, heck just chuck them in.

I'm not sure which is more inspiring: the simplicity of the ingredients lists/instructions, or the succulent-ness (is that a word?) of the images that accompany the recipes.

Lest folks think Georgie doesn't do vegetarian meals as well, there are LOADS of veggie friendly recipes. Indeed, if you're interested in the non-meat dishes only, there's a subset version, vegetarian only, of Dig In.

The Essentials: Just to really be clear on how straight forward (and dorm friendly) Georgie's recipes are, here's what you'd need if you wanted to make every recipe in Georgie's book, and few actually require a stove.

Measuring Cups & Spoons
Large Frying pan (1)
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Bowl/Plate to eat off of
Big mixing bowls (2)
Large baking dish (13x9)
Cookie sheet (1)
Can opener
Pot (for pasta, soup, etc)
Muffin Tin

See? ideal for either student dorm or busy profesh.

Gifts that Go Great Together. If you're thinking of gifting someone you love (or just care about) with this great book to help them get a little healthier, a little happier in their eating choices, you might want to add one of the utensils that may be missing from their kitchen, and tie it to a card with either the link to download their copy of the book OR you can also if you prefer, order a hard copy - fun for physical wrapping to be sure. Check the site: you will be amazed at how affordable this book is. For what's in it, i'm well surprised. When online ebooks sell for 39.99 for rehashing push ups you will be amazed at what good value (and price) this book is, and it's all original content (hint it's way less than 39.99).

Sharing the Goods It's a pleasure i find to be able to promote a great product, let folks know about stuff i've found to work really well, that you might find useful, too. When that product is from someone you've had the opportunity to connect with, that's even better, you know?

So let me help introduce you, as well, to a cool person. I mentioned in the title of this post that Georgie is a registered dietician - she's also a fitness trainer, published researcher and PhD student. If you'd like to learn more about how someone who seems to be rather busy with academics and job can find time to write up super recipes in such a gorgeous way, please take a look at my interview with Georgie Fear over at b2d's sister site for geeks who want to be healthy too, iamgeekfit

Let me know if you get this collection for yourself or for someone you want to see food empowered, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, consider not only getting Dig In, but adding a link to Geogie's site to your rss reader or mailer. There's new recipes all the time, and they're grand.


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Brett Chauvière said...

I am curious why the recipe's suggest the use of canola oil when it contains trans-fats?

Dr. Jonny Bowden's take on canola oil:

dr. m.c. said...

Hi Brett, Thanks for writing. I asked Georgie your question, and this is the reply:


First, I'll preface my commentary with a reminder that I use extra-virgin olive oil as my first choice, and canola only hardly ever, only when olive oil is inappropriate due to flavor or heat tolerance.

Canola is stable under higher temperatures than olive oil, so I use it when a recipe calls for high heat searing or browning. Maybe I use 1-2 Tablespoons a month, whereas I include olive oil daily.

Olive oil is widely known as a healthful oil due to monounsaturated fat content (73%), low saturated fat (14%), and the occurance of polyphenols such as hydroxytyrosol which act as antioxidants. We're all on board here, right? Good stuff.

Canola oil is the second highest in monounsaturated fatty acids of popular oils (68%), and is even lower in saturated fat that olive oil, (just 6%). It is also higher in omega 3 (ALA, same form as found in flaxseed) than other oils. [b]After some digging in the USDA nutrient database, I have found (to my surprise) that canola oil does contain a small amount of trans fat. How much? 0.9 grams per 218 grams of oil (1 cup) - so less than half a percent (0.4%). [/b]

I hardly use canola oil, but I am glad to have discovered this - so thanks to the person who asked! Recently, however, I have not been using canola oil - as I was turned onto a better substitute by an MD colleague of mine, Dr. Deborah Chud (

Should anyone out there be seeking an alternative to canola oil, I recommend macadamia nut oil as superior. It has a very high smoke point (400 F), and is lower in omega 6 fats than either olive or canola oil (mac oil is 2% omega 6, olive oil is 9.7% omega 6, and canola oil is 18.6%)

More remarkable, macadamia nut oil is HIGHER in monounsaturated fat than olive oil! (77% monounsaturates vs 73% in olive oil). In my recipes, I recommend now to use either canola or macadamia nut oil where called for. I prefer mac nut, sounds like the commenter would prefer mac nut, but many people out there aren't going to hunt it down or order it online - and I don't wish to alienate anyone by using hard to get ingredients.

So the bottom line. Canola oil isn't poison, its a lot better than corn, soybean, or vegetable oils in my book. The "evil" claims in the article are far stretched and dramatized (where not completely fabricated.) But should you be looking for an oil for times when olive oil (the best pick) can't take the heat, there are other alternatives like macadamia nut oil, for those inspired and motivated enough to seek out only the BEST. You certainly don't need to use canola oil. Happy cooking, hope this helps.

FYI: my pal's site links to a place you can order mac nut oil online, so if you want to pick it up from her, go to www.ADoctorsKitchen. I've ordered that brand before (Oils of Aloha) and it is great stuff.
Hope this helps! Georgie


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