December 2011

December 2011 posts

Swedish Named a 2011 Top Hospital

Our medical director for quality and patient safety, Mary Gregg, MD, MHA, blogs about Swedish's Top Hospital Award:

Of all the awards Swedish has won over the years, the most meaningful is the Top Hospital Award given by the Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group. I am very proud to announce that Swedish has earned the award once again this year: The Leapfrog Group today named Swedish First Hill among the nation’s 2011 Top Hospitals.

Dr. Mary GreggThe reason this award is such an honor for us is that our physicians, nurses and other staff have been working tirelessly for years to develop a culture of safety and quality on behalf of our patients. This award validates their efforts because it is based on performance on key quality and safety metrics. Of 1,200 hospitals nationally, Swedish is one of only 65 in the country that are meeting these standards.

I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge our staff for their commitment to quality and safety and to thank them for everything they do for our patients on a daily basis. I also want to acknowledge our hospital in Ballard. Although that campus is not eligible for a Leapfrog designation because it doesn’t provide intensive care services, Swedish/Ballard also scored in the top 10 percent of all Leapfrog hospitals for the second year in a row.

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. The annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. To learn more, read our news release or visit

The Leapfrog Group Names Swedish/First Hill Among Nation’s Top Hospitals for Second Straight Year

Indian Spiced Lentils and Squash

Invite a vegetarian for dinner! Little lentils are packed with heart-healthy fiber and folates and they’re a vegetarian staple because they’re so satisfying. This dish also features naturally sweet butternut squash, an excellent source of potassium and Vitamins A and C. Serves 4.


  • 1 cup lentils
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced, with juice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled
  • lemon juice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt


  1. Simmer lentils, partially covered, in 3 cups of water with salt until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic until golden, then add squash, tomatoes, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder and bay leaf and sauté briefly, until fragrant. Add lemon juice, wine, and broth. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  4. Add cooked and drained lentils and raisins to the pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until flavors are blended. Stir in chopped cilantro.
  5. Top each serving with a dollop of yogurt.

Per serving: 332 calories, 18 gm protein, 60 gm carbohydrate, 4 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 3 gm mono fat, 20 gm fiber, 279 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK Choose the small green French lentils called lentilles de Puy if you can find them, they hold their shape best and have a delicate flavor.

Reduce Your Holiday Stress

The holiday season generally puts increased demands on everyone. How do you have less stress and more fun during the holidays? Here are 8 ways to reduce your stress this holiday season.

1. Make the holidays about presence not presents. Avoid getting caught in the message that expensive gifts are a sign of love. Remember, your undivided attention and caring presence is your greatest gift to your loved ones. Create a memorable holiday by spending time with the people you care about. Never underestimate or diminish the lasting gift of your heart’s love.

2. Define what is important to you this holiday season. Unrealistic and high expectations promoted by advertisers can undermine the possibilities for happiness during the holidays. Your relationships, parties, dinners and gifts may never measure up to the perfection portrayed by the media. So, be realistic and make your holidays uniquely your own. Identify what you truly value during the holidays and create a celebration around what matters most to you. Avoid judging your holiday based on a magazine image.

3. Take care of yourself one day at a time. Drink plenty of water. Start a holiday tradition of walking with a friend or family member or participate in some other form of regular exercise. Deep breathe during your day and especially when you feel rushed or stressed. Listen to relaxing music. Avoid overdoing the sweets and alcohol. Keep healthy snacks, like fruit or nuts, nearby.

4. Rest in order to enjoy. If you are going shopping or attending holiday events that you know will tire you, make time for a nap or get to bed a little early. If you are doing added cooking and cleaning, remember to take extra time to rest and relax. If you are tired, you are not going to enjoy even pleasurable activities.

5. Pace yourself and delegate whenever possible. Make a conscious choice about the number of and which holiday activities you want to participate in. Trying to “do it all” can be exhausting. Be willing to say “no” and also share the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and added responsibilities with others whenever you can. Remember less can be more!

6. Norman Rockwell moments mostly happen in paintings...

Homemade Dressings

The benefits of making your own dressings far outweigh the wee bit of time it takes to prepare them. Our versions are tastier, healthier, and allow you to control the calories—all for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.

Yogurt Curry Dressing (1 cup)


  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch black pepper


  1. Whisk the yogurt and buttermilk. Add the rest of the ingredients; continue stirring until mixed well. For a thicker consistency that can be used for dips, refrigerate overnight.

Per 2 tablespoons: 20 calories, 1g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 22mg sodium

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing (1 cup)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  1. Shake all ingredients in a small glass jar.

Per 2 tablespoons: 65 calories, 1g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 5g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 8mg sodium

Salsa Dressing (1 cup)


  • 3 tablespoons apple juice concentrate
  • ½ cup salsa (check label for low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until blended.

Per 2 tablespoons: 35 calories, 0g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 2g fat, 0g sat fat, 1g mono fat, 0g cholesterol, 0g fiber, 60mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook Homemade dressings do have a shorter life than store-bought, since they contain no preservatives. These recipes will keep in refrigerator for up to a week.

Chocolate Walnut Pear Tart

This dessert combines all the tastes we love: rich chocolate, crunchy nuts, and the fresh taste of fruit. Fortunately it all comes together in a recipe that’s heart-healthy and as easy to make as it is to enjoy.


  • Non-stick pan spray
  • 2 tablespoons margarine spread
  • 1 cup whole roasted walnuts
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup egg white (3 egg whites)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 firm, ripe Bartlett pears
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple or passion fruit jelly


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 8-inch removable-bottom tart pan; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine nuts and sugar; process until very finely ground. Add margarine, egg whites, cocoa, vanilla, salt, and vanilla extract and process until combined. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.
  3. Peel, halve, and core pears; cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices, rubbing them with lemon as you work (to prevent discoloration). Arrange slices on chocolate mixture, slightly overlapping, without pressing in.
  4. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake until top is puffed and a toothpick inserted in center of chocolate mixture comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  5. Heat jelly in the microwave or on the stove until liquefied. Gently brush pears with jelly; let set, at least 20 minutes. Remove tart from pan, and serve.

Per serving (1/8): 219 calories, 4g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 2g mono fat, 0mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK: Instead of walnuts, substitute hazelnuts or almonds and various fruits in season. Using Demerara sugar (a type of unrefined cane sugar) adds a pleasant molasses flavor.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili

For our Chipotle Black Bean Chili, we found the beans on sale for 79 cents a pound. In terms of nutrition, black beans are rich in protein and calcium as well as fiber. We used water instead of more expensive chicken stock, because the spicy chipotle will heat up the taste as much as you want. Start with just a little; more chipotle can always be added. So, ask your friends over for a game night and know that you’re serving up a winning menu! Serve with green salad and baked tortilla chips (serves 12).


  • 3 cups dried black beans (turtle beans)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 large carrots finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeds discarded, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 28-ounce can low-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Suggested garnish: finely chopped red or green onion or cilantro with a dollop of nonfat sour cream or Greek yogurt.


  1. Rinse beans 2 or 3 times. Then, place in a very large pot, add half each of the green pepper and garlic and cover with 3 quarts of hot water. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil; simmer for 90 minutes or until beans are tender, but still firm.
  2. Place olive oil in another large skillet and sauté remaining green pepper, garlic, onions, and carrots until very tender, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Add cumin, oregano, tomatoes, vinegar and chipotle to sautéed vegetables, and simmer 10 more minutes.
  4. Add vegetables to the beans and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until beans can be mashed with a spoon, 10-20 minutes.
  5. Use a blender or food processor to puree 3-4 cups of chowder and add back into pot, mixing it all together. Dish up, garnish, and serve.

Per 1 cup serving: 256 calories,13g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 3g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g mono fat, 1mg cholesterol, 16g fiber, 128mg sodium.

Tip: This recipe can be made in advance. It holds in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 2 months. Time constraints? Use 6 cans of low-sodium black beans, rinsed. And grab a bag of baked tortilla chips instead of making your own.

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