Home ยป Q&A and Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Q&A and Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

Apologies for taking so long to get to your questions…all 2 of them! You guys used to be so inquisitive, what happened?! Have I simply answered your every last nutrition question? Doubtful 😉 Don’t be shy!

Heather from Get Healthy with Heather: Could you share if the nutritional value changes in yogurt that you strain yourself?   Would the stats of regular plain yogurt that you strain be similar to thick greek yogurt?

Prevention RD: I wish I had an exact answer for you, but I don’t. Homemade Greek yogurt (which can be made in a yogurt maker, crock pot, or simply by straining regular yogurt) has the water strained out so that the consistency of the yogurt is thicker and the protein concentration is greater (due to the lessened volume). How much water is left in homemade yogurt one will never know. You can strain the yogurt to simply be a thicker yogurt, or thick enough you can cut it with a knife. The more water you strain out, the higher the calorie (and protein/fat) content in the same size serving. The calories are slightly higher for commercial Greek yogurt when compared to regular yogurt — fat-free plain Greek yogurt clocks in at about 15 calories and 2.5 grams of protein per ounce while fat-free plain yogurt contains 13 calories and 1.5 grams of protein. Assuming the consistency is similar to your favorite plain Greek yogurt, the nutritional information will be very, very similar. I hope this helps!

Samantha from Bikini Birthday: A friend of mine recently started the Eat Clean Diet. I don’t know the specifics of the diet but I do know that she has been eliminating things such as refined white foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods in favour of more nutritious whole foods. Lately she has been feeling light-headed, dizzy, and has experienced a slump in energy that she attributes to her new diet. I’ve heard that people sometimes experience negative symptoms when they start a new diet. What’s your take?

Prevention RD: Firstly, I just want to profess my HATRED for the word “clean” used in regards to food. Not only does it not make sense to me, but it puts a totally negative “shame on you” connotation with anything listed as “unclean”. I’m a firm believer that health must encompass balance. ::Stepping off my soap box::The Clean Eating Diet encourages unprocessed, wholesome foods and exercise. The diet “guidelines,” as far as I can tell, include: 1) eating 5-6 times a day, 2) eating 200-300 calories at a time, 3) eating complex carbohydrate with protein at every meal, 4) drinking at least 8 cups of water daily, 5) never skipping a meal, especially breakfast, 6) avoiding saturated and trans-fats, and 7) sticking to appropriate portion sizes. The diet allows for 1 “cheat” meal a week, which thus requires meal plan compliance 97-98% of the time — a difficult task for most anyone. Moreover, are “appropriate” portion sizes really 200-300 calories? Certainly not for the traditional 3 meals with small snacks style of eater.

Now that we know what the diet entails, I don’t know why your friend is feeling that way. Her symptoms are consistent with a very low carbohydrate diet, but not the diet described above (maybe she’s not following it correctly?). It is important to have some carbohydrate, preferrably complex (fiber-containing), at every meal, along with some protein for satiation and blood glucose control. The average adult requires a MINIMUM of 130 grams of carbohydrate in the diet to prevent the body from using protein and fat for energy. Carbohydrates are the most usable form of energy in the body and are required for proper bodily function both at the muscular level and cellular level. Maybe she’s falling under this recommended guideline?

Some people experience negative symptoms after making major changes in the diet because they’re body requires an adjustment period. It could also be that they’re cutting out a major food group (carbs are something people love to banish), and that will certainly wreak havok on their bodies, especially at first. Balance and moderation are always key for restricting healthfully to produce weight loss. I hope that helps…sorry it’s so long!


Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding from Giada

Cooking spray
8 ounces multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 1 1/3 cups (6 5 ounces) shredded Parmesan

6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.

Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 217 calories; 11.6 g. fat; 182 mg. cholesterol; 600 mg. sodium; 15.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber; 13.8 g. protein

Result: I absolutely LOVED this recipe…it was like bruschetta bake! When I saw it on Giada’s show last week I know I had to have it. The basil was spendy, but worth it…the flavor was so wonderful. I also recommend splurging on the whole milk, it was incredibly thick and creamy, and I just don’t know that fat-free or even 1% milk would do the same. Mr. Prevention loved how the bread was crusty and the tomatoes and “pudding” were tender. It was a very well-balanced and simple dish and paired beautifully with those White Wine Steamed Mussels! Mmmmm!

I am getting so excited about Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to see my family and be home for the holidays, how about you?

Question: What’s one food at Thanksgiving that your family always serves?

My Grannie always made a pineapple souffle that was out of this world. We haven’t had it in a few years since Grannie stopped cooking, but I’ve decided that tradition must go on! Pssst, mom…you still owe me that recipe!!

Already playing Christmas music…

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  1. November 11, 2010 / 6:20 am

    My Q: do you ever make anything bad!? :). I’m joking though – I love seeing all your amazing food. One day I will find me a man who can cook like you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nicole
      November 11, 2010 / 6:25 am

      Yes! Most recently there was the pumpkin chili, chilled avocado soup, and onion loaf muffins! ๐Ÿ™‚ Mark likes to remind me of the mishaps more than the victories, trust me!!

  2. November 11, 2010 / 7:06 am

    Great replies Nicole. I will add one thing, the “Water” that is drained from the yogurt, is the whey protein. This has most of the lactose in it, which is why Greek yogurt tends to be even more tolerable than regular yogurt for those with lactose intolerance. AND, the whey protein is the fast-absorbed protein, so you wouldn’t want Greek yogurt right after a workout.

    I loved your response about the “Clean Diet”. The name just annoys me too. Is my Truvia I am eating in my oats right now DIRTY?? Ummm, no, it’s yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ Great tips!!

  3. November 11, 2010 / 7:10 am

    My mom is always pretty traditional with the holiday eats. But now that I don’t spend Thanksgiving at home anymore, I always make sure to acquire some pecan pie some way, some how…

  4. November 11, 2010 / 7:51 am

    Wow this pudding is all I want for breakfast now. It looks delicious and healthy.
    We are not celebrate thanksgivings…but every years we’ve been invited to friends and neighbors home who do ๐Ÿ™‚ We love carry some homemade dessert with us.

  5. November 11, 2010 / 8:20 am

    Ooooh, I love savory bread puddings! You really can’t go wrong with Giada.

  6. November 11, 2010 / 8:51 am

    Oh my, I can only imagine how good that bread pudding is. I loveee Giada. I’ve never made a savory bread pudding, but this one will be placed in my mind to make!

  7. November 11, 2010 / 8:52 am

    mmm mmm mmm that recipe looks great! Great responses to your question and answers too ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. November 11, 2010 / 9:03 am

    Thanks for answering my question so well. I appreciate the detail you went into.
    I’ll have to ask my friend if she’s cut out a lot of carbohydrates. I know that she used to eat a lot of refined grains, so maybe instead of replacing them with whole grains recommended in the diet she just cut them out entirely.

  9. November 11, 2010 / 9:19 am

    I just got the last batch of basil from my grandpa’s garden,and this looks like a great recipe to use some of it in!! Your gram’s pineaple souffle does sound gooood ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. November 11, 2010 / 10:04 am

    That bread pudding sounds fantastic! So does the pineapple souffle, I’ve never heard of anything like it! My family doesn’t have any recipes that are nearly as interesting, lol! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. November 11, 2010 / 11:47 am

    Hey Nicole!
    To add a bit to the homemade yogurt question- you aren’t just straining out water but also some of the whey fraction. Much of the lactose and some of the calcium is soluble in this fraction, so you get less lactose (good if you have GI issues), less carbs, and less calcium (boo if you want strong bones) in Greek yogurt too.

    What’s left is mostly casein protein, similar to cheese.

    And Nicole, its not you, questions have been slow over at AskGeorgie.com too. Guess people don’t want too much info around the holidays? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ignorance is bliss?

    Georgie Fear RD

  12. November 11, 2010 / 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the answer Nicole! I also read Gina’s comment above… Makes sense that I can tolerate it better when strained. There’s always so much to learn and you’re a great teacher ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. November 11, 2010 / 3:00 pm

    I’ve never had any type of bread pudding before, it never really appealed to me. Of course, that was before I saw this recipe. Holy yum!!!

    My mom is big on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This year (because Canadian Thanksgiving is in October) we had dinner at my aunts house, and she made ham. It was delicious, but my mom wanted turkey so badly, she went out the next morning to buy one and make us all turkey dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. November 11, 2010 / 7:40 pm

    I hate the term “clean” also. I think it’s preposterous. Why foster negative associations like that? It will only drive people away.

    That bread pudding – delicious! You definitely know the way to my heart.

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