Beef, or Veggie Burger? How the Protein Package Matters for Health

By on February 10, 2015

burger patties and buns
I always try to make burgers at home…than buy.


Protein is one of the essential building blocks of the human body. Found in muscle, bone, hair, skin, and throughout the organs and tissues, protein-based enzymes are responsible for fueling many of the crucial chemical processes that the body relies on daily. There are at least 10,000 distinct types of proteins that are active in keeping the human machine running, making it vital that the body replenish its stores through a protein rich diet.

Considering Food’s Complete Protein Package

However, recent research suggests that the amount of protein in your diet may be much less important than the quality of the total protein package that your meals contain–while red meats provide a rich source of proteins, they often come packaged with health-hazardous saturated fats and excess sodium. Recent studies are showing that replacing red meat options–and particularly processed red meats– with poultry, fish, and plant-based protein sources (i.e. a tofu dog or veggie burger can provide a complete protein profile without loading on the extra fats and salts.

burger ad fries
with its perennial partner, the fries


Links Between Red Meat and Cardiovascular Disease

Recent studies at Harvard School of Public Health have suggested that the regular consumption of even modest portions of read meat can be linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and related cardiovascular conditions. Meanwhile those who replaced red meats with lean proteins from fish, poultry, or vegetarian sources–such as beans and soybeans–seem to enjoy a significantly reduced risk for developing heart and circulatory conditions. One study found that as little as 1.5 ounces of processed red meat each day–about two pieces of bacon or a single hot dog–could be linked to up to a 20 percent increase of the risk of dying from a cardiovascular-related disease. These kinds of statistics are making vegetarian and lean meat options increasingly important for individuals looking to maintain a good health outlook.

Red Meat and Colon Cancer

Current dietary studies have also begun to focus on red and processed meats as a source of increased risk for colon cancer. The Harvard School of Public Health recently found that every added serving correlated to a 10 to 16 percent higher risk of dying from cancer-related complications. Such studies also indicate that high-temperature grilling of red and processed meats can increase the amounts of potential cancer-causing compounds. For instance, cooking meats over a high flame can quickly multiply the number of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are though to be linked to a number of digestive cancers. The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that those who do enjoy the occasional steak or burger on the grill can help to reduce the presence of these harmful compounds by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Partly pre-cook meat in a microwave or oven to reduce overall time on the grill.
  • Allow meat to marinate before grilling.
  • Use a low flame to grill meats whenever possible.

Replacing Red Meats in Daily Diets

While modern studies on the effects of red meat on the modern diet are ongoing, preliminary research strongly suggests that replacing red meats with lean meats and modern meatless options may be one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cardiovascular conditions.

burger homemade
Load it with cheese…



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Austrian/German | beef


By on January 6, 2012


At first look you’ll know that this is like Morcon, a rolled meat with fillings of vegetables, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, hotdogs and pickles served on special occasions back home. Rouladen simply means rolled meat. The German and Austrian counterpart has less filling and has a different sauce from what I remember my mom makes. Well, I don’t expect them to be the same, that’s one good thing about food, there are similarities and differences that you get to enjoy whichever you like.

4-5 Beef Roulade (thin strips)
8-10 slices of bacon
2-3 onions
1-2 tablespoons spicy mustard from Dijon
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons butter
freshly ground white or black pepper
Sea salt or coarse salt ground pepper

2-3 onions
1  carrot (cut in half)
1 / 4 celeriac
1 clove of garlic
1 large tomato
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 l beef stock, chicken stock, veal stock, vegetable stock, broth or bouillon cubes
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
freshly ground white or black pepper
Sea salt or coarse salt ground pepper

1. Peel the onions and cut into rings.
2. Wash the roulades and pat dry with kitchen paper.
3. Clean the carrots, peel and cut half of it into thin strips.
4. Sprinkle roulades with salt and pepper, brush with mustard and top with two slices of bacon, onion rings and carrot strips.
5. Roll up and fasten with toothpicks or roulade needles.

1. Wash tomato with hot water and quarter them.
2. The fat can be extremely hot, fry the roulades on all sides, add salt and pepper.
3. Dice the remaining carrots.
4. Remove the roulades from the pan and pour off most of the fat.
5. Fry the diced vegetables and herbs (onions, carrots, garlic, celeriac, thyme, bay leaf) in butter. Let contents of the pot thicken with tomato paste.
6. Scrape off the browned bits with a wooden spoon from pan bottom.
7. Bring the sauce to a boil and place the roulades.
8. Then add in chopped tomato.
9. Let boil and let simmer for about 1 hour and 50 minutes.
10. Pour sauce and season to taste.

Serve with rice or pasta.


Food Friday, Yummy Sunday

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Beef, braised

By on November 19, 2011

Braised beef

Back when hubby and I are still dating we would have favorite restaurants and certain dishes that we order in pair like our palate and tummies are synchronized. ^_^ There was a restaurant, whose name now lost in memory, that served a dish we still remember – it’s savory aroma still reminiscent of our visits. They have the best braised beef – a side dish of carrots and green onions on top of rice – that we often have for dinner. Been attempting to duplicate it since we moved here but to no avail.

I did at one time followed a recipe I found online and posted it here, it tastes more of the Chowking version. It wasn’t easy to do too…so when I found this braised beef sauce at the Asia shop I was relieved and ecstatic. We were having braised beef often ever since.

Braising is a long process. Here is a detailed procedure, complete with photos that I found online. What I do, for lack of time or for laziness as well, is to put the beef in a pressure cooker – a lot of them actually in different cuts meant for stew and gulasch. After half an hour of cooking, I’d let the meat cool down and marinate it with the special sauce (would check the brand later) for 20 minutes or so. I then heat up oil and put the marinated meat in, cooking until the sauce somewhat looks it’s been absorbed and pour all sauce in. I turn off the heat then and let the sauce thicken up.

Hubby often asks for boiled egg and carrots for side dishes but mashed potato and broccoli are the kids’ request. Serve with rice, and yes, so tender are the meat you can use chopsticks for them! ^_^

Braised beef


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Rib-eye Steak

By on September 17, 2011

I’ve got Gordon Ramsay to thank for this rib-eye steak cooked right, juicy and tender. I’m not so good when it comes to meat, I almost always have them baked. Poor us!

So this time I braved what reservations I have. Took out a grill pan, heated it and smothered with butter. I salt-peppered the steaks, rubbing them too gently. So here’s what I had:

rib-eye steaks
a teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
butter, cut into pieces

And what I did: Placed the steaks on the grill pan and didn’t move them for 5 minutes. I bathed them with melted butter,  I turned them over. Grilled for another 5-8 minutes. Removed the steaks from pan, placed on a serving platter, and top each steak with some more butter. Covered them tightly with foil and let stand for 4 minutes, then served with insalata caprese.

Everything was ready in the same amount of time it took me to finish this write up. 😉



Yummy Sunday

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beef | Noodles | Vietnamese

Phở bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup)

By on December 20, 2010


My earliest memories of lime (dayap) was on those nights that my mom would be in the kitchen, late and cold putting yellowish mixture in aluminum molds covered with a thin layer of caramelized sugar (arnibal).  I used to help her prepare that mixture…little as I was I would stir the ingredients in the big bowl before me with all my might. On some occasions I only squeezed the lime. 😀 Fast forward to a few years, I was tasked to combine milk, sugar and duck egg yolks and mix them. I also learned how to make caramel. Now I can make Leche Flan as luscious as my mom’s, smooth-looking with that silky taste lingering in your mouth. Well, thinking of it, that was actually the only memory I have of lime in connection to cooking.

Nowadays though I’ve other uses for lime.  Combined with chilli, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine are mostly known for the inclusion of limes. Today, I choose a Vietnamese soup, Phở bo.

There are different types of Phở bo characterized by the way beef is cooked. There are endless possibilities…beef brisket, beef tendon, tripe and even meat balls would do. I used tenderloin which I asked the butcher to slice real thinly.

pho bo

Here is a comprehensive recipe for the dish. As mentioned in previous posts, the hubby likes his spicy so I especially put in lots of fresh Thai chili peppers for him along with the usual garnishing for this Vietnamese soup…green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil (húng quế) (not be confused with sweet basil, Vietnamese: húng chó or húng dổi), lime wedges, bean sprouts (stir fried a little), and coriander (ngò rí) or cilantro (ngò gai).


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Braised Beef with carrots

By on May 6, 2010

Braising is a process of slow cooking tougher cuts of meat in liquid in order to add flavor and to moisten and tenderize the meat. This technique is also known as pot-roasting. In a beef cut such as a chuck roast, there is a pattern of connective tissues and thick marbling that makes the meat tough if it is not cooked with a method that melts these tissues. Dry heat-cooking methods, such as oven roasting, do not allow the internal temperature of the meat to become high enough to break down the fat and connective tissues. If the roast is left in the oven long enough to break down the tough tissues, then the outer portions of the meat become overcooked, dry and tough.


Braising/pot-roasting is a much more effective means for breaking down the tough fibers than any dry heat cooking method. The internal temperature of the meat reaches a level that is sufficiently high to melt the connective tissues and fat. The moisture in the pan prevents the outer portions of the meat from drying out.

The beef cuts that benefit the most from braising/pot-roasting are tougher cuts from the round, flank, plate, and chuck. Tender cuts from the loin and rib should be reserved for dry heat cooking methods. The chuck cuts are usually preferred for braising/pot roasting because of their flavor and because of the amount of marbling in the meat that melts during the cooking process, basting the meat with moisture. Among the chuck cuts that make excellent pot roasts are the chuck eye roast, the top blade chuck roast, and the seven bone roast which gets its name from the prominent bone in the roast that is shaped like a “7”.

Braised beef is one of hubby’s favorite dishes, following the adage “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” I make sure that I cook this for him once in a while. So here’s a good recipe, though it’s almost 3 hours in the making, it’s all worth my effort seeing him gobble down 2 plates of rice!

Preparation : 45 min Cooking : 2 h

Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 1/4 lb stewing beef, cubed
– 1 1/4 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
– 7 oz smoked bacon, diced
– 2 onions
– 2 garlic cloves
– salt, pepper, herbs of Provence (dried)
– olive oil
– 2 cups red wine
– 2 cups bouillon (or water + 1 bouillon cube)
Brown onions on high heat with some olive oil until tender.
Add meat and stir until well browned on all sides.
Add salt (lightly if bouillon cube is used), pepper and a good pinch of dried herbs.
Mix, then add remaining ingredients : bacon, carrots, garlic, wine and bouillon.
Keep on high heat just until it begins to boil, then simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours over lowest possible heat, stirring occasionnally.
If necessary add a little water to prevent sticking.

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(with thanks to–383/braising-beef.asp and

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