The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








How to do mixed drinks

Sometimes, you just want to indulge. Joel Soucy of Manchester is a mixologist and the co-owner of the Birch on Elm in Manchester. He answered a few questions about cocktails.
What are some of the simplest cocktails for beginners to mix at home?
It’s funny because some of the simplest ones are actually the oldest ones as well. And we’re going back to the golden age of cocktails in America in pre-Prohibition. … So a lot of my favorite drinks, actually, are three-ingredient drinks, super simple — spirit, citrus, sweetener, if you want to do a sour style. And that’s like daiquiri, bee’s knees, whiskey sour and French 75 and things like that. … Especially making stuff at home, simpler is better. It’s all about using fewer ingredients, but having good, fresh ingredients on hand, like fresh-squeezed lemon juice. You can make simple syrup at home, but you can get it in a bottle as well, cheap. You don’t even need a super expensive spirit. So it’s all about the right ingredients and the right tools. One of my favorite drinks to make at home is a bee’s knees. So you just get honey … just water it down a little bit so that it’s more malleable, easier to be poured from a bottle or a carafe if you’re going to be doing things that way. … Two ounces of gin, three quarters of an ounce of the runny honey and three quarters of an ounce of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. And that’s important; you don’t want the preserved stuff. That’s got a ton of extra sugar in it. Just buy a couple lemons at the store, squeeze them by hand. If you don’t have a jigger to measure … it’s about a half of a large lemon. Then just shake it with ice and strain it out. … There’s so many drinks you can make off of that format.
Can mixed drinks be made with healthy ingredients?
I generally try to avoid using anything that’s shelf-stable when it comes to using fruit juice. Those are usually just loaded with citric acid and sugar to keep them preserved. … You can simply cut a lemon in half and squeeze it. You can absolutely make healthy cocktails at home. These recipes … aren’t super strict. If you want to use less sugar, by all means, use less sugar. If you want to make a syrup with artificial sweetener, you can absolutely do that too. I drink a lot of gin and tonics. There are companies that make tonic water that have zero sugar. 
What kind of drinks are good to make for a house party?
Punch, all day long. … You make a giant batch of something and you leave it in a punch bowl or you put it in a beverage dispenser and you load it up with ice and you forget about it. … You really don’t want to be making drinks individually at a house party; that’s really tough. We just made five gallons of daiquiri at the restaurant for our New Year’s Eve party. It’s really just taking the individual recipes that we have and then just multiplying them. … You can keep a lot of people happy at a party with something like that. 
If you don’t own traditional mixing tools, what are some substitutes that people can find in their cupboards that might do the trick?
If you’re making stuff at home, especially in larger quantities, you don’t necessarily need to shake at all, if it’s going to be something that’s going to be kept in the fridge. You can make the drink … add the water instead of shaking it with ice, and then put it in the fridge for the same effect. … [If you’re making] one drink of something, really all you’re looking for is to chill it and dilute it. So, anything you can do to add ice and agitate it, whether it be with a spoon, fork, knife, whatever. You can have two glasses that you find that fit together, one slightly larger than the other, you can sort of get an impromptu cocktail shaker at home. … Always pour it over fresh ice when the cocktail’s made, though, when you’re ready to serve it to yourself.  
— Ryan Lessard

Eat Well
How to improve the taste and quality of your diet

By Angie Sykeny, Ryan Lessard

For Part 2 of the Hippo’s annual Look Good, Feel Great special four-part series, we talked to local food experts — nutritionists, a chef and a mixologist — about how to improve what you eat and how you eat it. We asked each of our pros a few questions and got some unique responses as well as some advice that will never change. (Yes, eating your vegetables is still key to a healthy diet — but there may be tastier ways to do it!) Remember, before making any significant change to your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure it’s right for you. 

Our Experts
Kim Dorval
is a registered licensed dietitian and founder of Nutrition in Motion (80 Palomino Lane, Suite 101, Bedford, 518-5859,, a wellness center specializing in nutrition counseling, sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition and metabolic testing. 
Hilary Warner 
of Bow is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of NutritionWorks! in Concord.
Sean Correll 
has worked as a chef in New Hampshire for 25 years. He runs his business, Thyme to Rise Personal Chef Service & Catering, out of Exeter and offers in-home prepared meals, private dinner parties and small event catering. 
Food Basics
Is the traditional food pyramid still relevant?
Hilary Warner: I think so, but I think the My Plate, which has replaced it, more accurately reflects what most people should be aiming for. … I think that the pyramid was state of the art at the time, and My Plate I think is an easier graphic to understand, in that it’s very visual and clearly shows that it’s beneficial to have a large part of your meals consist of fruits and vegetables and a smaller part be whole grains and something that has protein, whether it’s animal protein or vegetable protein. It’s a little bit clearer and more user-friendly. 
What foods are best for satisfying hunger?
Sean Correll: You have to have a balance of everything on your plate, especially whole grains and veggies. There are little things you can do, like don’t peel the skin off your carrots or potatoes, because that’s where most of the nutrients are. Have fruits and veggies cut up and ready to go that you can just grab and eat to hold you over between meals. … Surprisingly, drinking a lot of water can also fill you up more than you would expect. 
Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?
Warner: I think that it would be unwise to say that any part of eating is the most important part of eating. I think that people vary as to when they get hungry in the morning. Some people who eat a lot at night might not be very hungry in the morning, but I think it’s a good idea to eat something, whether you have it at breakfast or you end up having it at 9 or 9:30 in the morning, just to let your body know that you’re going to feed it and take care of it and to let your brain work clearly and to function at your best. 
Is it possible to eat delicious and healthy meals if you can’t cook?
Correll: It’s almost easier for people who can’t cook; they’re more afraid of messing up, so they tend to follow the recipes strictly to a T. People who know how to cook tend to freehand things, so it doesn’t always come out perfect. … There are so many resources nowadays with the Food Network and the internet that show you exactly how to do [a recipe], so even if you don’t think you can cook, just try it. If you follow the instructions exactly, you’ll be fine. 
Diet DON’Ts
Are there any popular diets that are actually bad for you, potentially?
Warner: Probably most of them. … I think that people are born with an inherent ability to feed themselves. If you look inside into your inner wisdom, your body is going to tell you when you need to eat and how much. And you’re also going to get some feedback about what foods and what combination of foods feel best for your goals, so a diet plan is going to perhaps tell you when to eat and how much and what foods you should and should not eat without regard to your inner wisdom and what you’re feeling. So I think that any plan, any nutrition plan, really needs to be paired with your own innate wisdom and intuition.
Are there any benefits to eating gluten-free even if you are not gluten-intolerant?
Warner: The only benefits that I know of for eating gluten-free would be [if you] had celiac disease or … being gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive. I can’t, off the top of my head, think of another reason to be gluten-free. 
What are some of the dangers of having a really restrictive diet?
Warner: If you cut your calories back too much, your body reacts to that as though it’s a famine and adjusts accordingly … which can slow your metabolism down significantly. … [Also], restricting your intake of enjoyable foods and of a variety of foods can make many people feel very, very deprived. … Eventually, most people are going to feel so deprived that they end up binge eating. And [they] often feel that they’re binging because they don’t have enough willpower, so they make stricter rules and then they find themselves in this cycle, binging and then restricting and then feeling deprived and binging again and feeling that guilt and sense of failure.
Eat the Rainbow
What good-tasting foods can you eat a lot of without racking up tons of calories? 
Correll: Fruits and vegetables are the biggest thing. You can add things to them that are healthy, like a homemade hummus or a low-fat sour cream dip — something where you can control the fat that goes into it. It’s not going to taste like a Dorito, but you can change your mindset to look for things that taste good but are healthier and lower-calorie. 
What is a veggie that we aren’t eating enough of, but should be?
Warner: All of them, unfortunately. Studies of Americans’ eating habits show that very, very few people are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables that would be most beneficial for health. ... But for especially nutritious vegetables, I think of broccoli and carrots and spinach, which is really easy to add to things. Even tomatoes. Just getting a variety of colors of vegetables. … Even white vegetables like onions and cauliflower have different things in them than do the orange vegetables like winter squash and carrots and sweet potatoes. 
How can you make produce taste better? 
Kim Dorval: People don’t know how to cook veggies. A lot of people grew up with their mother boiling or steaming everything with no flavor, but you can prepare them in different ways. Roasting or sauteing things makes them taste good, and adding things like some olive oil or coconut oil or herbs and spices. You don’t have to eat salads all the time or have a side of plain veggies. Add them to soups or protein shakes or other recipes. 
Is it worth it to spend the extra money on organic produce? 
Correll: Some people believe organic is more healthy and nutritious, and that has created a market where [sellers] can charge whatever they want, and they do. To me personally, it seems like you’re paying more for a lesser-quality product; non-organic [produce] tends to be plumper and juicier, and flavor-wise there isn’t much of a difference between the two. But it’s all a matter of people’s personal preference and lifestyle. 
Healthy Choices
How can you eat healthy on a budget? 
Dorval: Buy things in season, look for sales at different places, and buy things in bulk and freeze them. Plan ahead. If you’re tempted by certain foods when you go to the store, try something like Hannaford to Go so that you only get what’s on your list. That will help you shop on a budget, both in money and in calories. 
How can you eat healthy at a restaurant? 
Dorval: Nowadays, there are tons of healthy options listed on the menu. All restaurant chains are required to provide the nutrition information, so look it up beforehand to see if it’s online. If it’s not a chain, look up their menu to see what they offer, and if you have questions, you can call in advance so you aren’t asking all these questions with a bunch of people. Have a game plan going in. You could also order an appetizer instead of a meal or split a meal and take half of it home. 
What are some healthy ways to satisfy a sweet tooth? 
Dorval: Dark chocolate is good because it’s better for you than milk chocolate. You can do chocolate-covered fruit and keep it in the freezer. Focus on quality; if you want ice cream, make sure it’s quality ice cream. Honestly, I believe you should be able to have anything you want, as long as it’s not a trigger and you have a small portion and don’t have it every day. 
What should you eat before and/or after a workout?
Warner: It depends on the intensity and duration of your workout. Most people are not exercising a huge amount for long durations. ... For people who are exercising at much higher intensities or twice a day, then it can be helpful to follow that workout with a meal or a snack that is balanced in protein and carbohydrates. A lot of people talk about chocolate milk, which is a great combination, but also yogurt and fruit would do the trick, or having a sandwich, a turkey sandwich or something like that would be fine. And beforehand, having something that is easy to digest like an energy bar or some toast with peanut butter and jelly and yogurt would be fine. … But most people don’t need to eat special things before and after their exercise. They’re just not exercising enough for it  to be beneficial from a sports performance perspective. 
What are some healthy snacks you can take to work or eat on the go? 
Dorval: Beef jerky, fruit, nuts, organic cheese sticks, yogurt, protein shakes, hard-boiled eggs, veggies and hummus — those are all quick, easy things. You want to combine protein, carbs and fat. If you can get all three of those in a meal or snack, you’ll be eating more balanced than if you just eat a banana by itself, which will spike your sugar and make you crash in an hour. 
All About That Taste
What are some simple ways to make a dinner taste better?  
Correll: With meats, sear them in a pan first on high heat with a little butter on the bottom of the pan to give it that nice, golden brown crust and seal in all the juices, then finish it in the oven. For vegetables, the key is to not overcook them. You want to keep them a little crisp. … Also, make sure you season in layers. Add a little bit of seasoning at every stage of the cooking and control it by tasting as you go. That will make the dish taste better than if you just dump in all the seasoning at the end. 
What seasonings make a meal unhealthy if you add too much of it?
Warner: I guess salt is the thing that’s coming most to mind. But when someone salts their food, they’re probably going to put much less salt on it than they would ever dream that they’re getting from a restaurant or from some typically salty foods like some canned soups and some packaged frozen dinners.
On the flip side, what seasonings can be healthy for you?
Warner: In general, when all herbs and spices are used in moderation, they can provide benefits as far as making the food much more tasty and enjoyable and smell good, as well as having health benefits. Things like cinnamon, tumeric and other things like rosemary and thyme and oregano, all of these are being shown to have benefits that we weren’t previously aware of. 
Looks Good
How can you make a dinner more aesthetically pleasing? 
Correll: The biggest thing is keeping a clean plate. Keep the different dishes separated on the plate, and wipe up any drips on the edges of the plate or anywhere they aren’t supposed to be. … As for garnishes, don’t put anything on the plate that you can’t eat. Don’t put a lemon on a mac and cheese just to use as a garnish; put something that is actually used in the dish. If the dish has fresh herbs in it, a stalk of thyme or a basil leaf looks nice and gives the food a little more color.  
Drink Up
Coffee: good or bad?
Dorval: Coffee is fine, but it’s not good if you abuse it. If you use coffee as energy for the day and don’t eat healthy, that’s not good for your body. You need food for energy. Many times, it’s not the coffee that’s the problem, but what goes in it. The eggnog and pumpkin lattes and specialty drinks can be 300 to 400 calories, versus black coffee, which is like, five to 10. Instead, have it with skim milk or almond milk, and limit the times you have the flavored ones. 
Do grown-ups still need to drink milk?
Dorval: Adults do not need milk. No one over the age of 2 needs milk. It just adds extra calories at 100 calories a cup and displaces other things that we should be eating instead. It’s OK to have some dairy, but you do not need to be drinking milk by the glass. 
Do you really need to drink 64 ounces of water a day?
Dorval: The rule of thumb is to drink half of your lean body weight in ounces every day, so it can be between 60 and 100 ounces depending on your height and weight. It also depends on your physical activity. If you exercise or you’re sweating, you need to replenish what you lose. It doesn’t have to just be water, either. It can be herbal tea, a broth-based soup, fruit with high water content, anything with water in it. 

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