Don’t let the building fool you; Killen’s Steakhouse is an upscale restaurant in the heart of Pearland, Texas.
Chef Ronnie Killen returned to his hometown after training at Le Cordon Bleu and honing his culinary skills throughout the U.S. He has cooked for President Bush several times and was a candidate to serve as the executive chef at the White House in 2005. Chef Killen has won many awards and accolades and many of his customers consider Killen’s Steakhouse to best of its kind in Texas.
With help from food radio talk show host Cleverley Stone and FOX 26 reporter Ruben Dominguez, Chef Killen demonstrates how to prepare several of his special recipes.
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston,
listen to Cleverley’s radio show Saturdays from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Talk 650 AM.
(By the way, she gives out restaurant gift cards on every radio show!)
Nearly two million Americans have celiac disease and should avoid eating gluten, a new study finds. However, as little as a decade ago, virtually no one in the U.S. seemed to have a problem eating the protein that’s found in bread and other foods. Ali Miller, dietitian and natural foods expert with Naturally Nourished, explains the benefits and disadvantages of the health trend behind this fad diet.
Victoria Bechham, Miley Cyrus, and many other celebrities eat gluten-free. Does that mean you should, too?
Is Celiac disease on the rise?
According to a new study from the Mayo Clinic, it may be both. For the study, Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and his team looked at blood samples taken from Americans in the 1950s and compared them with samples taken from people today and determined it wasn’t just better diagnosis driving up the numbers. Celiac disease actually was increasing. Indeed, the research confirms estimates that about 1 percent of U.S. adults have it today, making it four times more common now than it was 50 years ago.
That translates to about 1.8 million Americans with celiac disease, but about 1.4 million people with the condition may not be aware they even have it. On the flip side, about 1.6 million people in the U.S. are on a gluten-free diet even though they haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease.
Why is gluten being targeted for negative health effects, isn’t whole wheat good for you?/What is celiac disease?
Gluten is the protein component in many grains including: wheat, rye, spelt, barley, and some oats. People that have Celiac disease have an autoimmune reaction to gluten meaning that their body sees gluten as a foreign invader and gluten destroys the lining of the intestine. There are people that have gluten enteropathy or gluten-sensitivity without Celiac disease, in this case the gluten still destroys the lining of the gut but the body does not have an autoimmune response so the blood work or Celiac panel will not show elevated antigens or “immune system invader alarms”. 1 in 133 people in the US have Celiac disease and it is estimated that 5-10% of the population has gluten-sensitivity.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease: fatigue, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, joint pain, inflammatory reactions, damage to the intestine
Why is Celiac disease on the rise? This really seems to have been a rapid buzz.
3 reasons why Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is on the rise:
- Weaker Immune Systems
- Higher intake of processed foods
Changes in the grains/crops: Hybridization of the wheat in our food supply has dramatically changed wheat and commercial grains, with a higher proportion of gluten in wheat than ever before. Modern cultivation, milling, storage and processing deplete wheat of nutrients, including vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Soil treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic growth hormones affect the plant development, and chemical preservatives contribute to gluten reactivity. Also, the hybridization of crops in our monoculture has produced wheat and flour-making grains to have the highest amount of gluten as it serves as a binder, helps dough rise, and provides structure/texture to baked goods. In the 1950s we began growing only the highest yielding crops.
Compromised immune system function: The hygiene hypothesis which suggests that “ultra-clean environments” do not allow for adequate exposure to antigens during child development; therefore, the gut doesn’t learn to handle antigens properly and the immune system responds with intolerance. With our focus on keeping “germs” away we have dramatically increased application of antibacterial soaps and body products.
Higher consumption of flour-based foods: sandwiches, pastries, muffins, tortillas, etc. and since the 1970s people have been told to choose whole wheat or whole grain which is higher in gluten.
And so is it beneficial to eat a gluten-free diet if you don’t have these conditions?
Gluten is a pro-inflammatory food and may increase fat storage in the body. Also carbohydrates in general cause a rise in blood sugar levels, which can increase risk for diabetes and cause instability with energy levels. I always like to focus on what we are having vs. what we are not. So, if you remove processed grains and flours from gluten-containing grains and replace it with sweet potatoes, legumes (beans), squash, carrots, beets, and starchy whole foods going gluten-free can be very beneficial, but if you just replace gluten foods with other processed gluten-free foods such as cookies, crackers, etc. you may not benefit.
Do you miss out on nutrients when following this type of meal plan?
If done improperly, a gluten-free diet can rob your body of important nutrients like iron, vitamins B12 and D, magnesium, and fiber. Processed gluten-free products are often higher in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium.
If you are replacing processed gluten products with processed gluten-free products, you may still be at a nutritional disadvantage. Instead, replace gluten products with whole sprouted grains, legumes, and nutrient-dense carbohydrates for a healthy improvement to any diet!
Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Ali Miller, RD, LD
With the most complete proteins of any grain and a great source of vitamins and minerals – iron, magnesium, Vit E, potassium, amino acids, and fiber – quinoa is an ideal gluten-free nutritious food for everyone! Quinoa is simple and quick to cook, so next time you’re craving a Mexican meal out; opt for making this wholesome recipe instead!
Yield: 8 servings
1 ½ cups quinoa 1 can black beans, rinsed 1 cup frozen organic corn kernels 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 ½ cup bell pepper, finely chopped 2 each jalapeño chilies, seeded/minced ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin, ground
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Method of Preparation:
1. Rinse quinoa with cold water using a fine mesh filter or strainer.
2. In a saucepan, combine quinoa with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed & quinoa is tender.
3. While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn bell pepper, jalapenos, and cilantro. Toss Well.
5. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.
Nutritional Analysis: Per serving Calories: 270 Total Fat: 12 g Protein: 9 g Carbohydrates: 30 g Fiber: 7 g Sodium: 213 mg
The Jucker family has been baking for five generations and almost 200 years. The family started baking in Chrzanow, Poland in a building where, it is said, Napoleon spent the night. Three Brothers Bakery in Houston still uses the family’s original eastern European recipes for rye bread, challah (egg bread), Danish, cheese pockets, kaiser rolls, bialis, traditional bagels, onion boards and onion pockets. Three Brothers Bakery is known for its gingerbread recipe and specialty cakes.
Husband and wife Bobby and Janice Jucker are the co-owners of Three Brothers Bakery. Janice is a breast cancer survivor. October is breast cancer awareness month and Janice and Bobby are participating in awareness programs, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure. Janice Jucker tells FOX 26 News reporter Ruben Dominguez about the bakery while Chef Bobby shows food radio talk show host Cleverley Stone how to make a pink ribbon cake from petit fours.
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, listen to Cleverley’s radio show Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM. (By the way, she gives out restaurant gift cards on every radio show!)
Hummus is no longer just a tasty treat available at Mediterannean restaurants or Greek cafes; hummus represents big business and one of the most competitive companies producing the popular dip is based in Houston and extending its product reach to the international marketplace.
Pita Pal Foods, co-owned by husband-wife duo Joseph and Melissa Navon, emerged from the ashes of the U.S. economic recession after 9/11.
“We moved from high-tech job to high-tech job because a bunch of our offices were getting shut down,” says Melissa Navon in an interview with FOX 26 News. “We want our children to have a stable foundation and not move all over the world like we had been doing. And we want to move back to Houston.”
When Joseph and Melissa were trying to determine their best business fit, they realized that there was a lack of healthy food in the U.S. and plenty of reports that the country was a global leader with respect to obesity.
“Just because of the recession, people started eating more at home and less in restaurants. The Mediterranean diet started to take hold,” says Melissa. She contrasted the Mediterranean meals from the low-carb high-protein Atkins Diet, which was popular in the 2000s.
Whole Foods Market, H-E-B and Costco are among the stores that carry Pita Pal Foods products.
“We are nationwide and international,” says Melissa. “We’re a ten-year-old company and I think we just got in at the right time in the business.”
The Houston Business Journal extended an honor to Pita Pal Foods in 2012 by naming the company as one of the “Houston Fast 100,” that is, the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the Houston area. Melissa attended a luncheon ceremony hosted by HBJ at the Hilton Houston Post Oak on Sept. 7 where her company was recognized as the 7th fastest growing company on the list.
“I can say that we more than double our business every year, so hopefully in the next few years, we might still be on the top ten, if we’re lucky. We’re going to work to achieve that goal,” says Melissa.
More success is projected for Pita Pal Foods as the company will shift operations from 18th Street in the Heights to the emerging district of Houston near BBVA Compass Stadium.
“I’m very excited. We have purchased a plant, an existing plant that has been vacant for a few years, in an up-and-coming area that is trying to change from a low socio-economic area into a revitalized area,” says Melissa.
The new Pita Pal Foods manufacturing facility will be located in the intersection of Canal Street and East Navigation Boulevard.
“We’re going to bring a lot of jobs to the area and we are going to quadruple our capacity, more than quadruple our capacity,” says Melissa. She described the move as invigorating and one that will lead Pita Pal Foods to be “one of the largest hummus and gourmet salad manufacturers in the nation.”
What can job seekers expect when applying to work at the new Pita Pal Foods building?
“Houston is not a mecca for food manufacturing. I would say that Dallas has more food manufacturing than Houston,” admits Melissa to FOX 26. “It’s nice to have some machine operating skills, some warehousing skills, some food handling training.”
Because a company’s success depends on all its employees, Melissa also encourages job candidates to “be a hard worker and want to take, you know, be willing to help us take our company to the future and elevate it to the highest level possible in food safety and quality.”
Melissa is quite proud to share the final component to each of the tasty Pita Pal Foods products. “We put on the back of our labels, ‘The last ingredient is a lot of love,’ and it’s true.”
Melissa credited Houston with an “amazing infrastructure,” including the Port of Houston, a low cost of living among major U.S. cities, and a “dynamic workforce here in Houston thanks to the oil and medical industries.”
“It’s really important that we live in a very vital community like Houston.”
Pita Pal Foods, Melissa admits, is able to succeed in the marketplace despite some stiff competition from major firms with plenty of capital resources.
“I would say our major competitors are PepsiCo, Nestle and Kraft Foods. Those are the major players in the nation for hummus,” says Melissa. “We’re starting to edge a lot of those competitors out of the market slowly.”
In addition to the small business birth of Pita Pal Foods in the early 2000s, Melissa explains that the company has served as a model for environmental responsibility from the beginning. She tells FOX 26 she decided to implement a wind and water energy program for the first Pita Pal factory and has referred to the company’s environmental standards on both its website and the packaging of its products.
“I would venture to say that probably most of my major competitors are not on wind and water which means that they have a lower cost of operating their plants, but it’s something that is very important to me and I think that a lot of the customers appreciate that,” adds Melissa.
Of the three product lines offered by Pita Pal Foods, one is classified as organic while another is classified as Kosher, more specifically Parve. Melissa says that the products appeal not only to Kosher and organic foods consumers, but also to vegetarians of various religious backgrounds because “they know what when they see the Kosher symbol that that factory is inspected, all the ingredients have been inspected.” She also reminds FOX 26 that the organic product line is certified by the State of Texas, which means the company is subject to various audits to “make sure we are achieving the highest goal in safety and quality.”
Super foods are composed of various foods with significant contributions to our health beyond their nutritional value. Ali Miller, registered dietitian with The Life Long Weigh, shares some common ‘super foods’ that you can eat every day!
What makes a food super and how do we separate the real foods from fad products?
What foods do you have here and why are they classified as ‘super foods?’
What is a simple way to ensure you are getting a variety of super foods into your day?
These super foods include brightly colored antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, fibrous beans and grains, essential fatty acid rich fish and nuts, and probiotic thriving yogurts and kefir. Below is a list of the Top 5 ‘Super Foods’ with the qualities that make them beneficial and ways to incorporate them into your daily food routine!
The Onion (Allium) Family includes Onions, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Leeks, and Scallions. These foods are rich in potent flavinoids that produce an antioxidant, Glutathione, used to detoxify the body from nutritional, environmental, and biological toxins and carcinogens. These foods can aid in the production of Natural Killer cells that combat tumors and infections. Power member garlic is also antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial.
Alliums can be added to the diet in soups, salads, slaws to increase savory flavors or add a kick.
All berries are great choice for a snack providing fiber and rich with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. Blueberries are rich in anthocyanidins which have the ability to neutralize free radical damage, enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillaries, and are cardio protective. Another way in which blueberries are a super food is through their anti-inflammatory effects which can protect against multiple disease states. Research has demonstrated their ability to reduce oxidative stress in the brain.
Blueberries are sweet flavor boost to any smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal, or eaten alone as a snack!
Spicy foods, primarily peppers, tend to be powerful detoxifying agents as they induce the cleansing process of perspiration, but spicy peppers are super foods because they are rich in capsaicin a flavinoid that is anti-inflammatory, reduces headaches, relieves pain, is anti-carcinogenic and heart healthy. Peppers also have more vitamin C than citrus fruits and contribute a rich source of carotenoids. Peppers are a beautiful addition to salads, soups, stews, salsa, and any food that would benefit from a kick!
Yogurt is thriving with probiotics, living beneficial bacteria, which are able to colonize in the gut to eliminate negative bacteria, protect the body from viruses, destroy mutated cells, limit inflammation, promote optimal digestion, increase production and absorption of vitamins. Yogurt can be eaten as a healthy snack or added to oatmeal and smoothies.
Kale (cruciferous vegetables) contains sulfur and provide compounds necessary for detoxification and cancer prevention. When these foods are broken down through chopping, chewing, or blending they trigger enzymes in the liver to disable cancer causing agents in the body. These sulfur compounds have the ability to inhibit tumor growth and decrease size. Kale provides a powerhouse of phytochemicals which include carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well as vitamins A, C, B6, and minerals manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium. The indole-3-carbinol (I3C) compound contained in kale and broccoli can lower LDL cholesterol transport and fight the xenoestrogen effects that lead to belly fat. Kale can be blended in a green smoothie, massaged into a raw salad, steamed, or braised as a savory side dish.
Ali Miller, registered dietitian and natural foods chef of The Life Long Weigh
- 1 bunch lacinato (dino) kale
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- Zest of 1 lime
- 3-4 Tbsp lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 apple, chopped
De-stem kale and chop in thin ribbons. Place kale leaves in bowl and sprinkle with sea salt, massage kale for about 2 minutes until it releases moisture, drain moisture off. In a large salad bowl, whisk together oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, cumin and agave. Slice avocado and apple, fold these ingredients into kale leaves and toss with dressing. Serve cold.
Nutrition (per serving, makes 4 servings):* 239 calories, 15.3g fat (2.1g saturated fat), 25.8g carbohydrates (7.3g fiber), 5.7g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 353mg sodium
Kale, the Yale of vegetables
Researchers have identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale; kaempferol and quercetin top the list. These flavonoids combine both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits in a way that gives kale a leading dietary role. Kale can provide great benefit in combating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. In addition, kale is now recognized for its comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.*
Raw kale is full of vitamin K, A, C, manganese, fiber, copper, tryptophan, and calcium amongst many other nutrients, however, when steamed, the cholesterol-lowering effects are enhanced as the fiber-related components can more readily bind with bile acids in your digestive tract.*
Fire station cooks prepare food for lots of firefighters every day. Fox 26 Morning News visited Houston Fire Station #20 to get some tips from station cooks and firefighters Wade Winters and Arnie Ruiz. They show Cleverley Stone and Chris Stipes how to make “Texas Caviar.”
Fire Station #20 Texas Caviar
Firefighter Wade Winters
Serves 12 people
2 can Black eyed peas, rinsed
2 cans Black Beans, rinsed
4 cans White Shoepeg corn
2 fresh red bell peppers, diced
2 fresh green bell peppers, diced
1 purple onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Vinaigrette Dressing, recipe below (or your favorite vinaigrette dressing)
1. Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Add vinaigrette dressing.
2. If time allows make a day ahead. It will taste better when Flavors are allowed to meld.
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2tbl brown sugar
2tbl dijon mustard
1/4 olive oil
1. Whisk ingredients together and pour over beans mixture.
After emigrating from South Africa, Ettienne Leibman opened Leibman’s Wine & Fine Foods in Houston, Texas in partnership with her husband Ralph in 1979. The store has a deli, featuring Ettienne’s dishes, including her famous chicken salad; a gift shop, a chocolate section and a wine shop. She shows food radio talk show host, Cleverley Stone, how to make mini potato latkes; talks about wines for New Year’s Eve and demonstrates some nifty wine gadgets.
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, catch Cleverley’s radio show,
Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM. (PS: She gives out restaurant gift cards on every radio show!)
Mini Potato Pancakes/Latkes
Leibman’s Wine & Fine Foods
12 oz. potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)
4 oz. onion (optional)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour or 2 Tablespoons Matzo Meal
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup vegetable oil
1. Using a food processor or hand grater shred the potatoes and the onions.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the potatoes, onions, eggs, flour or matzo meal, salt and pepper and mix together.
3. Heat the oil and using a 1 oz. ice cream scoop gently place the potato mixture into the oil, press down lightly
with a fork and cook until golden brown.
4. Turn over and cook the other side till golden brown.
5. Remove from oil and place on a wire cookie rack or on paper towels to drain.
6. Top with crème fraiche and a small dollop of caviar.