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Its Time To Take Pleasure in Persimmons

8 Oct

I love stocking up on whatever fruits are in season and Autumn is the perfect time of year to discover the magical fruit called Persimmons. This fruit has its origins in China, Japan, throughout Asia and eventually made its way into California.  My favorite Variations has a lightly sweet taste and crisp texture. You can pick out the best Persimmon by choosing one that is hard and firm, but dark orange in color. You can eat them with or without the skin.  Below are some great reasons to stock up and try this delicious exotic fruit!

I like to peel the skin off and eat them in slices. They are also great in salads, bruschettas, grilled, and can be used in many desserts. They pair very well with seafood like shrimp & scallops. I however still prefer mine all natural as snacks.

Here are a few great and healthy benefits of Persimmons in addition to their many Nutrients.

Fiber source: Just one persimmon contains six grams of fiber, which is already about a quarter of your recommended daily value. Fiber digests slowly, so it keeps you fuller longer.

Cravings cure: The fiber in persimmons, called pectin, is responsible for another appetite-controlling feature: pectin helps regulate blood-sugar levels to keep them from spiking, which can help prevent blood-sugar-crash-related cravings.

Flat belly: Persimmons are known for their stomach-soothing properties, so eating the fruit may help you feel less bloated or constipated. Note, however, that in rare cases, eating too many persimmons, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to a bezoar (an intestinal obstruction) because of the fruit’s highly fibrous properties.

http://www.fitsugar.com/Persimmons-Weight-Loss-Health-Benefits-25589039

Home-Made Chicken & Vegetable Curry

7 Feb

Tonight I had left over chicken breast and decided to make a home-made curry that turned out delicious so here is the recipe below.

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Ingredients:

1 Clove Garlic

1/2 Chopped Onion

1 Tomato Pureed

Shredded chicken

Cauliflower

Mushrooms

Carrots

Almonds

Cilantro

(optional) peas, golden raisins

1 can Coconut Milk

2 tbls Curry

1/4 tsp paprika

dash Cumin

dash Cinnamon

splash Tapatio

Salt & Pepper to taste

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In a large pan lightly saute garlic, onions, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms(add salt/pepper to veggies). Pour in Coconut Milk, add spices and whisk together, add more salt & pepper to taste. Add shredded chicken, almonds, and fresh chopped cilantro ( save some for garnish).

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes

Serve with wild rice. If you don’t have rice you can also add potatoes or even sweet potatoes to this dish as well as peas and golden raisins.  I also added almonds to mine and it added a nice crunch.

10 Must Have Healthy Foods to Start Adding to Your Diet

6 Feb

Doing my weekly grocery shopping at one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, I realized there are some amazingly healthy foods I need to start eating as often as possible. If we all included these 10 ingredients to our diets, I’m certain we would lose weight, have more energy, fight off colds, and who knows maybe even live longer. I for one haven’t been sick or had so much as a cold in years and I really think my diet has contributed to my bodies immune system. I think we should all keep these 10 ingredients in our homes at all times and start using them often!

1. Lentils

130 calories 5g Fiber 10g Protein

Can you say wow, we all eat so much pasta, potatoes, refined carbs, these lentels make a great replacement and are so easy to make. I buy Red Lentels from Trader Joes and they cook in 10 minutes. I can just add salt and pepper or get fancy and add some diced veggies. I can’t tell you how yummy they are and they go great with so many dishes from salmon to baked chicken. They can also be a great vegetarian meal on their own or the perfect side dish. If even once a week you replaced Lentels with the typical rice and potatoes you would certainly start losing weight!

2. Barley

1/2 cup Serving,  270 calories,  10g Fiber,  7g Protein

Oh Barley where have you been all my life and why haven’t I been using you? I always loved Beef & Barley soup and just recently I found out how easy it is to make. In fact all soup is really easy to make. I’m becoming a firm believer in not wasting food and this was a perfect way for me to recycle my left over pot roast into a brand new meal. Next I plan on making wild mushroom and barley soup and finding out everything else I can make with barley. What I love best about this wheat is its texture, it doesn’t taste grainy or wheaty at all, but boy do those nutritional facts pack a punch! Trader Joes also makes a Barley that cooks in 10 minutes. In fact when I make soup I just pour it in with the veggies, simmer for 30-40minutes and they cook perfectly.

3. Kale

1 cup cooked, 36 calories, 3g fiber, 2g protein,

Daily Vitamin Requirements 180% Vitamin A,  200% Vitamin C, 1,020% Vitamin K

Ok now lets talk about why this vegetable is so important and popular! Check out those vitamins, especially Vitamin K which is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health. It’s been known to fight illnesses from cancer to Ahlzheimerz and per calorie Kale has more Calcium than Milk! Kale is so easy to make just saute with some olive oil, salt, pepper, onions, garlic. Or crisp them up for Kale chips, they go great in any soup, or cream them with your spinach.

4. Flax Seed or Chia Seeds

2tbls ground 55 Calories,  3g Fiber, 2g Protein, 2338mg Omega 3 Fatt Acids, 606mg Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Both Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds are all about their Omega 3 Fatty Acids. So lets talk about why Omega 3’s are so important for our diet. Research shows strong evidence that the omega-3s EPA and DHA can boost heart health and lower triglycerides. And there are studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions — rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and not to mention the benefits for our skin, hair, and nails! For more information on Omega 3 Fatty Acids visit http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet The most important factor is that essential fatty acids (ALA,DHA,EPA) are not made in the body or are inefficiently converted from ALA to EPA and DHA, we need to get them from our diet.

I prefer Flax seeds because frankly they are much cheaper and have almost the same nutritonal content. In fact I get my seeds pictures above from the 99 Cent Store!! And grind them in my magic bullet. When added to oatmeal, waffles, pancake, baking ect they are completely undetectable so why not add them? If you’re making pancakes add a big scoop and make those pancakes healthy!

5. Cinnamon

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Cinnamon

What a simple and underrated ingredient that most of us don’t use nearly enough. And  make sure its real cinnamon. Start sprinkling it on your food, in your baking, on your coffee, its even great in some soups and super easy to incorperate in many of the foods you already eat. There are in fact so many great benefits please read here for just a few http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html

6. Squash(Winter)

These include butternut, acorn, pumpkin, spaghetti. Not only are they delicious but rich in B Vitamins and Carotene which has been proven to be beneficial at preventing cancer and lung disease. The carotene from squash can also help prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Read more here http://www.livestrong.com/article/2701-facts-health-benefits-squash/ Squash is so easy to make why don’t most of us eat it more? Simply bake in the oven until soft with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and done. Squash makes great soups, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for you guessed it, and we all know the many many uses of pumpkin  but get creative. Make pumpkin butter, icecream, use the puree in your pancakes, breads, waffles, pasta sauce, you name it get creative! When Tis the Season, take advantage and eat winter squash once a week!

7. Sweet Potatoes

Are 10x healthier than regular potatoes, so why don’t we make them more? In fact why don’t we always substitute sweet potatoes instead of regular? First they contain twice as much fiber as any other potato, contains your complete daily value of Vitamin A (Beta Carotene), and are high in vitamin B6, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and contain Iron. Simply put they are full of vitamins which white potatoes are not, they are also lower on the glycemic index and actually help lower your insulin levels instead of spiking them. If you switched to sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes you would experience permanent weight loss. Its a very healthy habit to start getting into and one I highly recommend instead of mashed potatoes or rice as a side dish.

8. Onions & Garlic

Not only do they make everything you cook taste better they are full of health benefits. Everyone who cooks should first add chopped onions and garlic into every meal. I add it to my sauteed vegetables, soups, sauces, pretty much everything and I truly think it has kept me healthy.These natural foods are full of chemicals that can help protect a person from a variety of infections, diseases and illnesses. Garlic and onions help to protect against cardiovascular disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, and a variety of cancers.

Disabled World – Disability News for all the Family: http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/onions-garlic.shtml#ixzz2K9Hdlkv2

9. Brussell Sprouts

Now some people don’t like them but I just don’t know why I LOVE them and they’re so good for you. There are 4 vegetables I cook regularly squash, broccoli, kale, & Brussell Sprouts. For a quick list of benefits visit here http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/11-health-benefits-of-brussels-sprouts.html they are full of fiber, vitamins, and are even said to help lower cholesterol. I love to jazz mine up by adding dried cranberries and chopped pistachios.

10. Kiwi’s

Did you know a little Kiwi actually has 2x the Vitamin C of an orange and contains more potassium than a banana? They are so yummy I am not sure why I don’t eat them more often. They go great in salads or just eaten by themselves. They are also full of minerals and folic acid, check out some more health benefits here http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2012/05/10-health-benefits-of-kiwifruit/#.URKwd6VJOAg they are truly a super fruit!

These 10 ingredients are so healthy for us, but not used nearly enough. I picked these 10 because I decided to make an extra effort to include all of these constantly available in my home to cook with, enjoy, and I hope you will too!

5 Healthy Super Bowl Party Appetizers

2 Feb

Who says a Super Bowl Party has to be all greasy pizza and nachos. Impress your friends with these healthy and delicious appetizers on Game Day

1. Lemon Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Simple and easy to make, find the recipe here http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2000/12/lemon_rosemary_chicken_skewers

2. Bruschetta Skewers

these really cants be any more simple. Add cherry tomatoes, basil, and half a mozzarella ball, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and drizzle with Balsamic reduction (the thick stuff)

3.  Asian Meatballs

I pulled this one straight from my pinterest page http://pinterest.com/sondrabarker/

Now tell me these don’t look tasty, bite size, low carb, no gobbles of melted cheese, 2 thumbs up. You can find the recipe here at: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/saucy-asian-meatballs/

4. Cold Shrimp Scampi Cocktail

Shrimp Scampi (photo)

I made these last year and I must say I probably ate them all. The non traditional shrimp cocktail so good it doesnt even need a sauce and so easy. Simple purchase some cold pre-cooked shrimp and combine in a bowl with fresh lemon juice, chopped garlic & fresh chopped parsley, sea salt, pepper, and a small amount of olive oil.

5. Prosciutto Wrapped Dill Pickles

Another one of my absolute favorites I had at a girlfriends house warming party years ago. I was the awkward one standing at the food table all night! These are so simple to make and addicting.

I like to use baby dill pickles, cut the prosciutto in 3 slices, smear a little cream cheese and wrap the pickles. Its that simple. Now if you really want some brownie points top with a slice of peach or fig. The flavors go amazing together, it will be a sure hit. Looks oh so fancy, but its simple!

 

Enjoy and remember Superbowl doesn’t have to be one cheesy, greasy, carb fest =)

 

Rosemary Lemon Baked Chicken

2 Feb

Here is one of my favorite recipes that is just full of flavor and oh so simple to make.

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Ingredients:

Chicken Half Breasts with Bone

Rosemary

Lemon slices

Gravy:

Flour 1/2tbls

Coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray, make sure to use a baking dish if you want to make a gravy so the chicken creats its own sauce. Season both sides of the chicken breast and place them in the dish. I like to use my Himalayan Pink Salt, Pepper, Onion/Garlic mix and Paprika. Then with your fingers pry open the chickens fat layer and stuff with a thick slice of lemon and a sprig of rosemary.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour

The gravy is very easy to make, your chicken should be sitting in its own juices, simply transfer the juices to a pot, add a small amount of flour and bring to a boil simmering until you get the desired consistency. I like to add the flour a little at a time, start with just 1-2 teaspoons.

Tip: The best way to serve is with the gravy at the bottom of a plate, never pour the gravy on top or you will lose that nice crispy skin.

Why You Should Replace That Coffee for a Smoothie or Juicing!

24 Jan

Now lets start by saying this is coming from a Coffee Addict, but I’ve decided to make an important change. Trading in my morning coffee for a smoothie and here’s why!

1. Crash & Burn

Its widely known coffee gives you an immediate burst of energy, but soon after you crash and burn leaving your body to crave more. But what you should know is that a smoothie will give you the same effect without the crash and burn. I make my smoothie with fresh squeezed oranges, banana’s, strawberries and even add a special antioxidant Red Powder from trader Joes full of amazing ingredients. I get the same burst of energy from the sugars of the smoothie, but no crash, no burn, and my energy last longer!

2. Get your Vitamins

The natural way that is. We rely too much on manufactured vitamins, but nothing as is good for your body as the real thing. If we all just ate the way nature intended we wouldn’t need to take vitamins at all. I get all my servings of fruit first thing in the morning when they can be used for energy and I get plenty of vitamins which keep me healthy and my immune system strong. I’m getting all my vitamin C the natural way. Better yet is if you have a juicer, you can add in some apple, beets, green peppers…the possibilities are endless and then you’re getting even more nutrients and cutting down on the sugar.

3. Coffee is a Drug

Let me tell you, after 2 weeks straight of headache withdrawals  I can tell you coffee is an addictive drug. I felt like I should be in a rehab facility! Anything that causes such a severe withdrawal should tell you that its not good for your body. Drinking coffee leads your body wanting even more. Whens the last time you had a headache from drinking too much, or not drinking enough smoothies? Never.

4. When in doubt go Healthy

When in doubt, use your wits and just go healthy. What has nutrients, vitamins, whats good for you, whats all natural? Fruits & Vegetables! You will lose more weight giving your body nutritious fruits and vegetables, than just coffee.

5. Stop running on empty

Coffee does not sustain you, fruits and vegetables do. Drinking a smoothie or juicing can be used as breakfast and at least keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning. With coffee you’re running on empty, and in fact the acid from coffee can actually cause stomach irritation.

So if you want to lose weight, feel better, be healthier I encourage you all to make the switch with me and take note of how much better you feel throughout the day!

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5 Quick Breakfast Ideas that are Healthy, Low Calorie, & Tasty!

21 Jan

Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. The wrong breakfast can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and making bad food decisions for the rest of the day. Avoid the fast food, stacks of pancakes, and worse absolutely nothing! All of these breakfast ideas are quick, simple and can even be taken on the go. By starting your day off with a great breakfast you”ll feel great throughout the day and studies show that when you start the day off with a healthy nutritious breakfast you’re more likely to make better food choices throughout the day.

1. Try a Smoothie

most of us are in a rush, so try making a quick smoothie instead of your usual cup of joe. I use a magic bullet and it literally takes the same amount of time. Simply add a little OJ or Skim Milk, some fruit ( fresh or save time with frozen), and for extra benefits add a scoop of your favorite protein powder or green veggie powder. I am using a red anti oxidant detox powder from Trader Joes. When I have extra time in the morning I fresh squeeze my oranges and it literally takes me just a few extra minutes. What ever you choose your smoothie will surely be packed with more vitamins and nutrients than your morning cup of coffee. Even better, with the Magic Bullet you can simply screw on a lid and take it with you. If you are really on the go try a pre-made smoothie drink.

2. Breakfast Burrito

I love the idea of a breakfast burrito because they are easy to wrap up and eat as your heading out the door. You can also pack a ton of goodies inside full of your protein, complex carbs and packed with vitamins. Use a whole wheat tortilla and pack with eggs, your favorite veggies, avocado, spinach, you can even add some extra brown or wild rice, skip the potatoes or opt for sweet potatoes instead. Go light on the cheese and use a small amount of sharp cheddar instead. For an extra punch I like to add some chopped chives and go for the salsa instead of the sour cream. Now of course this is my fancy burrito so feel free to simplify it with just some eggs, veggies, dash of cheese, & salsa. This is really one of those breakfast items where you cant go wrong.

3. Fresh Oatmeal

I don’t think many people realize that fresh oatmeal and store bought oatmeal in the packets takes the same amount of time to make. So save yourself some calories and make your own. If you buy just the oatmeal you will often be able to buy a kind that is higher in fiber. It is so easy to make, just pop in the microwave for a few minutes with some diced bananas and skim milk. If you’re on the go put it in a small microwave container and you’re good to go. Most of the time the bananas are sweet enough so you don’t need any extra sugar but you can also add a small amount of raw honey( the thick stuff, not the syrup) which is much better for you and actually contains vitamins and nutrients. I also love adding some chopped walnuts for a nice crunch and adding in some healthy fat and protein. You will feel so much better throughout the day and your energy will actually last!

4. Healthy Elvis Presley Sandwich

That is whole grain bread, all natural low fat peanut butter, and sliced banana’s. A perfect breakfast you can eat while heading out of the door and it only takes minutes to make. Simple, delicious  and packed full of nutrients, complex carbs, fiber, and protein. You really can’t go wrong. Always choose a whole grain brain that has 3+g of fiber per slice and select a peanut butter that is all natural and low in fat. Avoid ones that include hydrogenated oils. You can also sprinkle with cinnamon for some extra deliciousness, and if you can find real cinnamon you will enjoy even more health benefits http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html!

5. Muffins

If you’re short on time in the morning consider making a batch of healthy muffins in the evening or on the weekend when you have more time, they will last for over a week in an air tight container and make the perfect quick breakfast on the go or even a quick healthy snack during the day. Plus if you make it yourself you know its healthy and can even add in goodies like ground flax seed. Here are some great Healthy Low Calorie Muffin Recipes to try. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/low_calorie_muffin_recipes_low_calorie_scone_recipes

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins Recipe

5. Low Fat Cottage Cheese & Fruit

This is a great low calorie choice that will start your day off with protein and a great dose of vitamins and antioxidants  My favorite fruits to add to cottage cheese are strawberries, blueberries, melons, mango, & pineapple.

Great Snacks that are Satisfying & Only 200 Calories

12 Jan

Like most people, I love snacking, especially at night. As most people know eating late at night and heavy snacking can spell disaster for your weight loss efforts. There are however some great snacks that are low calorie and will keep you feeling satisfied before you head to bed and even throughout the day.

1. Soft Pretzel with Mustard

Surprisingly 1 Soft Pretzel is actually quite low in calories, but skip the butter and opt for Mustard. In total this snack will only set you back 200 calories

2. Strawberries & Sugar Free Pudding

In the mood for some chocolate covered strawberries? Try Strawberries and Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding which will totally hit the spot. The best part is at only 200 calories you can still eat a ton of them

3. Portobello Mushroom Bruschetta

Photo of Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Bruschetta and Mozzarella

This is one of my favorites as its very hearty and easy to make. Because mushrooms and tomatoes are mostly water, this dish is surprisingly low calorie and will become a favorite. Simply combine diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and a small amount of diced or shredded mozzarella cheese(1 oz or 1/4 cup), add some salt, pepper, and set aside so the flavors can meld together. Then lightly saute a Portobello Mushroom cap, set on a plate, and scoup the tomato mixture in the center..enjoy!

4. Small Sweet Potato with Yogurt

Satisfying and low calorie, sweet potato’s are a great alternative to baked potatoes and make a delicious snack. Top with a spoon full of plain greek yogurt and sprinkled with cinnamon, they are delish!

5. 4 Devil Eggs

We all love devil eggs, add 1/4cup nonfat greek yogurt, yellow mustard, & add half the yolk for a guilt free pleasure. You can eat 4 as a snack!

Avoid those starchy carbs with these 6 great alternatives!

23 Sep

By now most people understand how eating starchy carbs like corn, potatoes,pasta and white rice spike your insulin levels leading to those carbs turning straight into fat. Eating these types of carbs is actually equivalent to eating sugar! You’re body responds to both in the same way. However that doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves and go on the Atkins diet. What it does mean is that we need to rethink the way we plan our meals and choose alternatives that are just as delicious, but much healthier. Luckily you have me to help!

1. Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, & multi colored small potatoes

These are all great alternatives to baked and mashed potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes are actually lower on the glycemic index and will not spike your insulin levels. Also if you love potatoes try sticking to small potatoes that retain their skin which means extra fiber. The trick is really in the preparation. All that’s needed is a very small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper  & fresh parsley or rosemary.

2. Smart Taste Pasta, Berillo, Whole Wheat Pasta’s

Ronzoni Smart Taste - White pasta enriched with Calcium and Fiber

Now a days it is very common to find great pasta’s that have exactly the same taste, yet are full of fiber and protein. I;ve even found whole wheat pasta full of fiber at The Dollar Store, so eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive

3. Quinoa

File:Red quinoa.png

This amazing grain alternative is actually a seed that almost pops in your mouth like caviar yumm! It can really be specialized with seasoning, fresh herbs and you can dice up and add just about any vegetable. It’s especially great with carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, & mushrooms. Quinoa is lower in carbs and high in protein and dietary fiber. I especially love this alternative for women since we are more susceptible to anemia.

4. Red Lentels

I recently discovered this great side dish alternative at Trader Joes. The best part? It takes 12 minutes to cook. Like quinoa you can add  a variety vegetables. These sides are awesome if you have children and need to sneak in those veggies. Red Lentels are also a popular and trending ingredient in salads. One serving provides a whopping 5g of fiber and 10g of protein.

5. Wild Rice

6. Squash

This is one of my faves. You can use spaghetti squash as an alternative for Pasta or just as a side dish. I also love butternut, acorn, and even pumpkin. You can cook all of these the same way so its much less intimidating than they look. Simply cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a small amount of olive oil or smart balance, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and bake for 30 minutes or until tender at 350 degrees.

Rice can still be a healthy alternative, but you have to read the ingredients and look for that high fiber content. I’ve been using a variety from trader Joes for years and love it. I wish Trader Joes was available in more states! Now with that being said, don’t be fooled by brown rice. Most are also refined, enriched, and contain as little as 2g of fiber per serving. We want at least 5g of fiber per serving when you are choosing a healthy grain. The best thing to look for is a rice blend. This one uses Diakon Radish Seeds which are so delish, who knew!

So this week your challenge is to experiment with different healthy alternative side dishes and enjoy watching the pounds melt off. The saying “you are what you eat” is so very true.  Avoid side dishes like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, and potato chips. Eat these in moderation as a treat. Also remember that corn is a starch so when trying to improve your diet, treat corn as a carb and opt for veggies like kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, and carrots. Believe it or not onions and garlic have amazing health benefits so I always add diced onions and garlic with all my vegetables to add more flavor and ad as much nutrients to my meals as possible.