Spotlight On Watermelon

Here in the south summer has arrived with the vengeance of  a mother in law that has swept in for a long staying vacation.  It means light foods, pool time, sandals or flip flops as main stay foot wear, plastic kiddie pools and blow up inflatables ( am I the only one who loves the smell of that cheap plastic and sniffs it like a dog sniffing a bone ?? haha)  shorts, and an endless tan till November.

Summer “officially” doesn’t start till Thursday but I guess no one told the weather that. We are  now in days of endless blue skies, sun, temps dancing in the high 90’s and “don’t sit on plastic furniture or you will stick to it” kinds of fun.

I really don’t like having to cook meals when it gets so warm, but my body does dig eating, so I’ve had to come to a happy balance of food, but light foods.

Todays spotlight is on one of my favorite summer treats, watermelon.

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Get a fork, I’ll share

 

Cool, sweet, refreshing and you get an arm workout lifting and tossing them into your basket, it is total win on all levels.

Sweet and healthy

Who says sweets aren’t good for you?  Check out some of it’s vitamin and mineral benefits

As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries.

A cup (154 grams) of watermelon has may other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI

Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.

Watermelon is also loaded with anti-oxidants.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals. Not surprisingly, watermelon contains a hefty amount of vitamin C – 21% of the daily recommended value – that helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight disease. There’s also a 17% daily value of vitamin A, boosting eye health and preventing such diseases as macular degeneration and cataracts. The vitamin B6 content helps form red blood cells and assures your nerves will function as they should. Your body uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins, so the more protein is consumed, the more vitamin B6 is needed. Potassium, although a relatively small amount is in watermelon, helps balance fluids in your cells. (Low potassium levels sometimes cause muscle cramps.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.

Lycopene

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that doesn’t change into vitamin A. This potent antioxidant gives a red color to plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon, and is linked to many health benefits.

Cucurbitacin E

Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.

Let’s not forget one really big important factor, watermelon is made up of 92% water so it makes a perfect fruit to help keeping you hydrated.  Also, A high water content is one of the reasons that fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.

Nutritionally, while vitamin A and C content is significant, it’s the lycopene that takes the prize for what it does for the body, which includes anti-inflammation bone health and an ability to neutralize harmful free radicals.

The nutritional break down

Nutrition Facts

Watermelon Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, balls (154 g)
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 46
Calories from Fat 2
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Potassium 171.21mg 5%
Carbohydrates 11.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 9.5g
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 18% · Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1% · Iron 2%

 

Can we eat now?

One thing about watermelon, it requires nothing fancy to eat it. Just chill, cut and serve. If it’s for a picnic it can be cut and sliced and eaten right off the rind. Although messy, it’s one of the more fun ways to eat it, just have plenty of napkins on hand.  If you’re going for a more civilized way of eating it haha, it’s cut off the rind and served in a bowl where you can use utensils to dine on it ( I prefer the outdoor method, sun in my hair and juice on my face with plenty of napkins version ’cause well, that’s what summer’s about right?)

Watermelon is a very non-fussy food which perhaps in my estimation makes it perfect for laid back summer days.

Sweet, hydrating, packed with awesome invisible vitamins and minerals that are amazing for your body and crazy low in calories, all while satisfying your sweet cravings?

I think that’s a total win.

But wait…. wait a minute….

Do you know watermelon is not actually a fruit but considered a vegetable?

SAY WHAT?

We think of watermelon as a fruit because of its sweet flavor, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.

So… there’s that. I know you’re shocked.  Fruit? Vegetable? Let’s just call it tasty.

A few fun facts on melons…..

Seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified. They’re actually a hybrid watermelon created by crossing a watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a watermelon with 44 chromosomes. The result is a sterile watermelon. These watermelons produce immature white seeds that are perfectly safe to eat. Seedless watermelons were first created over 50 years ago.

Watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians depicted watermelon in drawings on the walls of tombs and even left watermelon with their dead to nourish them as they journeyed through the underworld

Because watermelons are native to Africa, they need hot, sunny conditions to thrive. Some varieties need up to 130 warm days to ripen. Most watermelons mature in 85 to 100 days

Watermelons usually have red flesh, but some watermelons have white, yellow, orange or even green flesh

A watermelon will not grow in your belly if you eat the seeds. In fact, the seeds are actually quite nutritious with high levels of magnesium, zinc and protein. Chew the seeds before swallowing for optimum nutrition ( all the times your mom told you that story of watermelons growing in your belly, right??)

The Japanese grow square watermelon. How? They place square glass boxes around a growing fruit so it becomes square as it grows. The Japanese like them because they’re small and don’t roll around. They fit neatly in a refrigerator. The downside? These watermelon cost about $82!

And the recipe board……

You may not think of eating watermelon in other ways than it’s easy natural form. I thought I’d add a couple recipes that showcase this great summer fruit.

 

Oh, and can you go wrong with ice cream or sherbet for a cool treat? Check out this two ingredient healthy option.

 

And of course, let’s not forget cute ways you can play with this fruit….uh…vegetable?……too 😉

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A fruit shark??

 

Tell me, is watermelon an enjoyable summer fruit for you? Do you have any preferred ways of eating it or interesting recipes using it ?

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Spotlight On Apples

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a spotlight post and I figured it was about time to get back on it and offer you up another look at a healthy food and convince you to eat it if you don’t already.

Do I have persuasive powers? hahaha

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An apple a day…

 

 

Personally, I don’t think it should take much to convince anyone to eat an apple but I guess there are those who won’t or will pass on them for whatever reason.

I don’t understand it…. sweet, crunchy, tasty, refreshing…. delicious. How could you not?

Now be good and read all of this and I’ll toss some tasty apple recipes in at the end 😉

The Healthy 411 on apples

One thing that I perhaps (intellectually) know and understand doing research for these posts, is that it’s a no brainer  fruits and veggies offer amazing healthy benefits, can protect against diseases, can make our skin, and hair look great, offer significant anti aging benefits, keep our digestive system running smoothly, keep us feeling full, and all of that for minimal calories and no fat.

But every time I start my research so many offer all the same benefits.

Hmmm… you think it’s a good reason to get these into our daily diets?

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I love Granny Smith apples. Sweet and a bit tart they offer a great flavor combination. They also make good pie 😉

 

Besides apples coming in their own handy packaging that you can easily eat with minimal disposal at the end 😉 they make easy handy snacks to take on the go, can be fit in anywhere and satisfy any crunchy sweet cravings you may have.

Eating apples won’t replace a tooth brush but the biting and chewing of an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth reducing tooth decay by lowering the amount of bacteria in your mouth. It can also help clean your teeth.

Apples can curb all kinds of cancers. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds — triterpenoids — in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

Help reduce cholesterol.  The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

Get a healthier heart.  An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

Prevent gallstones. This is one of the health benefits of apples that is eye opening. Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fiber (ahem, apples again) to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

Control your weight. This is one of the health benefits of apples most of us are willing to get. Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage weight and improve overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fiber. Foods high in fiber — like apples — will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

Help prevent cataracts. Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants — like apples — are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

Boost your immune system. Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out. That’s one of the most unexpected health benefits of apples.

Eating fruit is linked to higher bone density, which is a marker of bone health.

Researchers think the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in fruit help promote bone density and strength.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds may promote bone health, and eating fruit can help preserve bone mass as you age.

Some studies show that apples, specifically, may positively affect bone health.

Apples are also extremely rich in important anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber.

And eat up….

with only about 95 calories in a medium apple you can easily have a couple in your day.

And apples are good for our skin…

Their high content of vitamin C helps to build collagen, and their levels of copper (60 mcg in a large apple) encourage your skin to produce melanin, the pigment responsible for color in your skin.

Are you ready to add an apple a day to your diet? With all those health benefits and being an easy, portable snack why wouldn’t you?

Ok I promised you food if you read to this point….

How about an amazing dessert ?  When I made this at Thanksgiving everyone went crazy over it. Not the healthiest way to eat apples but certainly tasty 😉

And of course I had to offer up a healthy alternative too, right? With summer coming on is there anything better than a light refreshing salad?

ok your turn! Tell me how do you like apples? In a pie? As a quick sweet snack? In a salad? Do you have a favorite kind?

Spotlight On Bellpeppers

 

As I pondered what new, tasty and fun food to bring to this weeks “spotlight” post I couldn’t help but laugh a little at my choice. This weeks spotlight being on the bell pepper family.

You see, growing up, and even well into adulthood, peppers were not on my favored list. I found them to be a bit bitter and not very tasty. I could tolerate them on  a supreme pizza buried under tomato sauce and cheese and that’s about where our relationship ended.

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This looks like an ad for summertime…. seriously though, just eat your peppers 😉

 

 

Growing up my mom would whip up stuffed peppers for dinner occasionally. Those nights were the least of my favorite meals to put it mildly. It was up there with liver and onions as far as tastiness to me. And yeah, she made that too. I’m just gagging at the memory of it…bleh…

Anyway, I grew up a little more and realized there were other colors of peppers out there and weirdly, they didn’t taste as bland, bitter, not tasty, whatever adjective to use here.

Oh no. In fact, they were quite tasty. And the red became my most favorite as I found myself nibbling on them when making salads or just grabbing them for a snack.

There’s a reason for the taste difference

Do you know the bell pepper, all of it’s colors, is actually just one pepper?

Yeah, that little factoid blew me away too.

The green pepper is the least mature and is picked first. Because it isn’t ripe it has more bitter taste, is less sweet and has fewer nutrients. The green pepper is most purchased of all the colors and it’s also the cheapest. Cheapest ’cause Mr. Farmer has to spend the least time tending it.

As the pepper continues to mature on the vine, it turns to yellow and orange in the ripening process.  The yellow is quite similar to the orange one. They aren’t as bitter as green but aren’t as sweet as the red.  The yellow and orange are “in between” peppers. Which you choose to use in dishes is largely a personal preference.  The orange does have thick flesh and is sweeter than the green pepper.

Finally, the red pepper. It is the sweetest of all peppers because it has stayed on the vine the longest and is fully matured.  It’s also why colored peppers are more expensive. They require more care and attention from the farmer before harvest.

The red pepper also packs an impressive amount of vitamins and nutrients the other peppers don’t.  Red peppers contain a whopping amount of beta-cartone over the other peppers, 11 times more! They also contain two times more Vitamin C and 10 times more Vitamin A than the green pepper.

Red peppers also have a shorter shelf life. So with all these factors in mind, you can see why they are also the more costly.

Oh…but they are so worth it.

I was in the store one day buying some red ones. They were huge and a deep vibrant shade of red.

They screamed good health. They screamed “take me home and eat me!” haha

I guess I was kinda petting them and admiring their beauty when hubby said…

“you know you’re talking to peppers”

Uh… yeah… I knew that. They were just so pretty. And cheap.

And I’m weird.

It was one of those days and they were well under the 1.00 per pepper price so I was loading up on them.

The 411 on bell peppers

The cool thing about almost all veggies? You can eat so much for virtually no calories.

One medium pepper is only 24 calories! Not to mention it’s loaded with tons of Vitamin C, B 6 and Vitamin A.

You know, all that stuff that’s good for you and makes you look healthy .

All peppers are high sources of potassium. This mineral helps keep your fluids and minerals balanced in your body, enhancing muscle function, and regulating blood pressure.

The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.

The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.

Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.

Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

Now let’s eat!

Now I personally still don’t think of stuffed bell peppers as one of my most favorite dinner options, although hubby loves them. So it was a bit of a surprise when my daughter in law recently requested them for her birthday dinner.

They are simple to make and certainly looked beautiful…. I’ll add the recipe at the end.

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Ready to be stuffed with tasty goodness

Ok, in all fairness, these were good. And the fam wolfed them down. I’ll let you try and see if you like them.

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Look at these healthy delicious morsels 🙂

Oh, and besides the big peppers, do you know you can buy bags of little red, yellow and orange peppers? They are so cute… I chop them into salads or use them in my breakfast of sautéed veggies… or just eat them as is.

I did come across a recipe for stuffed cheese ones the other day. I haven’t tried yet, but I’ll share here at the end as well.

Of course, peppers are delicious roasted, grilled, sautéed or used in salads or other dishes, There really are endless, healthy and tasty options for them.

I’m eager to try this recipe with these baby peppers….

In conclusion….

the green pepper is unripened and is less sweet and has the least nutrients of all colors. It is also the cheapest and most purchased of all peppers.

The orange/ yellow pepper is more mid-range, having a sweeter flavor and more nutrients.

The red pepper is the sweetest as it stays on vine till fully ripened. It also packs the most nutritional punch of all peppers. It is more costly due to longer vine time ( but oh so worth it!)

Oh and a fun fact….Bell peppers are related to tomato, potato, tobacco, eggplant, and petunia.

Tobacco???

 

Ok you’re turn, tell me. Do you like peppers? If so how do you prefer them?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello beautiful people! It’s Sunday evening as I write this and I find it ironically funny I’m tossing down black coffee like it’s free beer night at the bar and following it down with some Peanut M&M’s while I get ready to write a post for my health and fitness blog.

I have weaknesses ok? Don’t judge me.

Anyway, life without some chocolate is just boring, can I get an amen?

I once was on a committee  with a man who always brought chocolate to our meetings, usually M&M’s. He called it brain food.

I called him a smart man.  I always angled to sit by him. We all worked better with that brain food 😉

It’s ok though, I’ve been grinding it out this week with my workouts so I’m thinking my treats are ok.

One of my training sessions was miles with a lot of big back to back hills thrown in. And I’ll tell you, I always know where my glute muscles are after those sessions!

 

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Yes, I’m standing on the hill in the middle of the road. Check out the scenery I have to suffer through while doing hills.

It was one of those cooler than I anticipated when I took off kinda mornings. Perfect opportunity to rock a beanie for maybe like, the last time this season.

It’s cute. It doesn’t matter that my hair was soaking after 😛

But hills. Yeah, speed work in disguise so I try and make sure I hit them a couple times a week.  I weirdly like doing hills even though it really is hard work. It’s satisfying hard work.

Of course the week in training also contained things like heavy doses of strength training and some cycling.

Spring is coming though and I’m really looking forward to getting back into heavier workouts.

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Hello spring 🙂

and by that I mean longer miles on the bike and back to once a week brick sessions, (run/bike/run ) to start whipping those legs back into shape. I am planning to do the duathlon again this year. I think it’s good to make those sessions a part of my weekly training even if I am months away from it happening.

On the subject of spring….

Am I the only one who lurched into last week with the whole daylight savings time business? Like those first few days feel all wonky. Midafternoon I think I have hours till dinner and I realize I gotta quit what I’m doing and make plans to feed the natives. Worse is morning when it’s pitch black out and I’m stumbling around looking for coffee trying to not think it’s really only 5 a.m. and that’s why my body feels like its still in a fog. Forget the fact I’m up to my usual time the night before which may contribute to said fog. Of course then I still think it’s early morning when it’s really later, especially if it’s cloudy or foggy out… bleh.

This week has been better though… I’m doing it… go me.

In other shenanigans of the week…..

My furniture adventures… yes I know I promised a post on that and it’s coming… sometime….

Meanwhile, while you wait…

I picked up some more cool stuff I just can’t live without being stored in my work barn. Ha, I kinda joke. Some pieces are for flipping and a few are because I don’t want to part with them.

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I only celebrate my win after I bag the game and am heading home.  A few treasures back there…

It’s kinda hard, flipping stuff. I mean when I  invest time into it and love on it, well, maybe I don’t want it to leave. But for real, I pick certain things I know I’m going to specifically give new life to and then hope someone will want to take it and love it after I finish it. Then there are pieces that make my heart sing and I want to have hang around for awhile. Look at one of the little things I had stashed back there….

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I loved this little piece immediately. It’s on castors, which I think are kinda old school cool. Those drawers are cute too. The top was a mess and I wasn’t sure what would be underneath,

 

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Look at it’s fixtures
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Look… some elbow grease and those water stains were only surface. Some pretty wood hiding under there.

So, yeah I kinda love this piece so for now, it stays with me…

I got this turn of the century Sligh desk on Saturday… gah… look at it….

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Sligh desk circa early 1900s
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So much pretty detail…soooo much work to do on her…

They just don’t make things like this anymore. I of course bought it off a lady who lived in the middle of nowhere and had it in her barn…lucky me.  More on this project later… oh and it should be mentioned I kinda name my projects ’cause “desk” and “dresser” just sound dull and boring.

Say hello to Anastasia. It’s the perfect name for such a lovely piece with so much lovely detail and delicacy.

ok and finally for this week on my side project… I introduced you to my early 30’s china hutch weeks ago. I did not tell you her name however.

Say hello to Scarlett. I’m sure you’ll understand why I chose it for this piece….

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Look how lovely she looks now.
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A peek in the drawer. I love how old and vintage it looks with the wood still showing through and some stenciling to dress it up a little.
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The day I brought it home. Sad, dirty and in desperate need of an updated look

So there’s a little snap shot of some of my projects. I’ve got several in the works right now that I hope will be finishing in the next week or two. A few are flips so here’s hoping they find new homes quickly 🙂

And before I leave you….

You know I’ve gotta talk a bit about food right? Have you ever realized when you are really, truly, deeply hungry it tastes amazing in a way it doesn’t when you aren’t that needy? It’s true.

That being said, I’d be remiss to not share a couple tasty things I whipped up this week. One pan meals… cause I’m all about getting a healthy meal together without being in kitchen all night….

 

 

And that’s a wrap boys and girls. Tell me how this past week went? Have anything fun or exciting ahead of you?

Spotlight On Strawberries

I spotted them the other day, the first batch that looked full, big, and naturally deep red as if ripened on the vine.

Strawberries.

So it’s a bit appropriate as we slowly creep into spring, to make todays spotlight shine on them.

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person on the planet that can’t be convinced to eat these sweet tasty little morsels. If you’re one of those sugar smothering strawberry eaters, stop that. They have an amazing natural sweetness all their own and rarely, I stress that word, need added sugar.

Well, unless you’re making homemade ice cream with them, then well, ok. And yeah, I have a tried and true amazing, and I mean amazing recipe that I’ve used for years.

Be good and I’ll share it at the end with you.

What’s the sweet scoop on them

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Can anyone really resist the sweet goodness of fresh, ripe strawberries?

 

How about one medium one has only like, 4 calories? I find that to be a rather delicious fact.

Today there are over 600 varieties of strawberries. …strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside. Strawberry plants are runners, and are not produced by seeds. They have an average of 200 seeds per fruit and are actually a member of the rose (rosaceae) family

The sweet berries rank among the top 10 of fruits and veggies for a high antioxidant content.

Gosh. There’s that word again. What is an antioxidant and what does it do? Simplified, the human body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. However, in most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. In order to maintain the balance, a continual supply of external sources of antioxidants is necessary in order to obtain the maximum benefits of antioxidants. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.  And those damaging agents cause things like… aging and other age related damages.  The antioxidants protect our cells and promote health and wellness in the body.

You seriously want to up your antioxidant food intake. But good news, so many fruits and veggies have them you don’t have to look far to get them in. You just need to eat them…..

Ok.. science lesson over… that might be a post unto itself….

They are rich in Vitamin C (providing twice as much as the average fruit) just one serving, about 8 berries, yields more Vitamin C than an orange. Potassium and magnesium are also big hitters in these berries.

Are there health benefits?

Yes, once again there are benefits to making this fruit a part of your nutrition plan.

The vitamins and antioxidants found in strawberries can promote eye health, boost our immunity, treat arthritis and gout, help prevent some cancers, boost brain function and memory, reduce hypertension, improves heart function, and help promote weight loss by stimulating metabolism and reducing appetite. Strawberries can also help reduce inflammation and prevent birth defects as they are high in folic acid, a necessary nutrient during pregnancy.

Strawberries are also not only good for your health, but good for your skin too, in both consumption and topical application.

Strawberries can be used as a made into a cleanser, they can help reduce eye puffiness, and help with oily skin and acne. ( please note, I’ve not tried this personally.)

Well, when can we eat them?

Yeah, ok. Time for the good stuff.  Sometimes, I like to do things like this with strawberries….

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This is one of my most requested birthday cakes

of course a cake isn’t complete without ice cream, right? Actually this strawberry ice cream has been a 4th of July family favorite for a long time…

Strawberry Ice Cream:

2 3/4 c fresh strawberries

2 c granulated sugar

2 3/4 c heavy cream lightly whipped

Press strawberries through a sieve or puree in an electric blender.  Add sugar and lightly whipped cream to strawberry pulp.

Churn freeze according to manufactures directions.

Enjoy 🙂

And then a little healthier option for you too…..

In summary strawberries are a wonderful low calorie, healthy, sweet and tasty fruit that offers numerous health benefits to us when we make them a part of a healthy eating plan.

Tell me, do you have preferred ways you enjoy eating strawberries?

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings.  You know what’s been on my mind this week? Wondering how much wet, sloppy, soggy, foggy, soupy grey weather you have to be in before your feet start getting webbed.

I’m seriously so over it. I took off for a run on Friday, like I just don’t care anymore. Either run, or lay on the sofa and drink coffee.

Nah not really.

I’d do strength training or some other indoor activity. Ha rowing! That is an appropriate activity for such hideous weather.

We’ve had more grey, wet weather than sun this year.

South Texas people. This isn’t Seattle but the weather gods don’t seem to know that.

But today… as I write this… we had sun.

Sweet glorious, beautiful sun. Blue skies. Warm air.

I wanted to just act like a huge lizard and lay out in it but alas, I had projects. Fortunately for me, I could do those projects outside AND enjoy the spectacular day before it’s creepy counter part returns soon.

What projects you may be pondering?

If you’ve read the past few weeks I’m having fun doing some furniture flips.  You can find more on it in this post….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/19/monday-musings-4/

I should be noted that I only seem to manage to go get said furniture on some of these sloppy, grey, foggy days.

I’m becoming a pro at it.

So my recent acquisition I scored this last week.

I had been stalking a dresser on an online site. I loved the lines of it and the cute, big mirror, not to mention the nifty vintage hardware that it had.

Oh and she wanted 100.00 for it. Of course I was fully planning on negotiating that price with her. I can bargain like a fisherwoman 😉

Anyway, I was asking her a couple questions on it one morning and she just changes the listing price to 50.00! Ok I couldn’t message fast enough I was coming to get it.

Coming to get it in the wet, cold, pouring rain.

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Dragging home my newest find

 

So I got the piece and headed home to unload it in the rain and I realized that I wasn’t “feeling it” and by that I mean when I get a piece I usually am already formulating a plan or vision for it. I’m excited over it. I am eager to get started.

It bothered me that I had gone through all of that and wasn’t feeling in love.

It was like trying to feel something in a relationship and nothing is there.

Oh no!

I decided to wait a day or so and go back and look at it again to see if I felt differently. I thought the weather was putting me in a bad mood ( haha) I made the determination if I didn’t start “feeling it” I could just flip it in it’s existing condition ( I bought it knowing it needed repair but that doesn’t bother me) and at least double my money.

Ok well…. after a day or so going by… and looking at it again… I saw it with fresh eyes. All the things I loved about it to start with. I realized what was bugging me was the horrible re done stain and varnish job someone had done to it. I also realized that with my skills it would look totally different when I got it finished.

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A 50.00 vintage find… and it does look cute and I can hardly wait to start

 

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Then there’s the cool hardware. I loovveee the lion heads 🙂 All they need is a little cleaning

 

Ok and one other object I acquired this week. A friend actually gave it to me, it had been her mom’s, and her grandfather made it. It’s like a little kitchen type thing. She knows I have girl grandbabies and thought I might be able to fix it up… I’ll let you take a look at what I started working with….

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I’ve lovingly named it the Green Goblin

 

So I do have a vision for this piece and I think it will be SO cute… but first… I have to get it to a place a can work my magic on it… so I spent the sunny afternoon outside making it look like this….

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Better now, yes? That orange and green was awful to cover up

So now I have a clean slate to work on, more or less. I can hardly wait to transform it. You’ll have to check back to see what’s up with it.

Gathering up furniture is work…

One thing I’ve learned I am grateful for… being strong. I’ve been dragging things around and sometimes I don’t have much or any help so it’s nice to handle things when I can.

One thing I’ve been focusing more on are movements that are good for upper body/core strength.  I’ll share a few moves I’ve been adding into yoga for that…

 

I’ve been focusing on moves that really target my shoulders and upper body… planks and push up’s of all kinds are also kinda handy for that 😉

I wanna make sure I keep building upper body strength for life AND fetching old furniture 😉

Doing all that work makes me hungry….

Can I share some new recipes with you I experimented with this week that everyone went crazy over? Tasty and overall pretty simple… even better.

 

 

So

 

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve figured out if I throw something in the crock pot, I can work on my projects longer and not stop to do a lot of prep for dinner… shhhh 😉

Really though? A hot tasty meal that’s slow cooked all day? How can you go wrong?

Speaking of meals, this week we’ll look at tasty inexpensive ones that are also healthy. Of course there will be some more spotlight posts, fitness stuff and whatever other goodies may come dancing out of my head.

Tell me. What’s been new in your week? Tried any new recipes? Do you use crockpots?  Pushed yourself a little more athletically or tried a new workout? 

Sweet Potato Spotlight

Let’s talk about food. Ya’ll seem to really like food posts and I love offering up spotlights on various fruits, veggies and healthy meals.  Today boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about sweet potatoes.

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Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite “go to” foods

 

Now if I mention that and you think “Hey, that’s Thanksgiving food!”

Well just hold on a minute. If your idea of eating them involves a lot of sugar and butter, well.. we need to talk….

Now don’t get your feathers ruffled up. I know it’s tasty and hopefully you eat them like that once a year but let’s be honest. With all the sugar, butter, marshmallows, etc. it might, just might, negate the goodness of the lowly, not really attractive looking potato.

Here’s the low down on them

Although they’re soft and creamy enough to be put in pies and called dessert, sweet potatoes are also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable.

For a one cup serving they come in at only 114 calories. They pack a whopping amount of Vitamin A in the form of beta- carotene  providing 377% of your daily needs.

They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

If you’re wanting to lose weight the sweet potato is a healthy, low calorie, satisfying food to add in your daily nutrition. Just as long as you don’t load them down with sugar, butter and other stuff 😉

Why are sweet potatoes good for you?

Well besides all the good vitamins and minerals mentioned above, consider this,

For as sweet as they are, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream). … Manganese helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and thus maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and it can even stabilize your appetite. It also helps the body utilize antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber helping the digestive system.

That all sounds like a win, right?

What about some health benefits?

Due to the color-pigmented vitamins, sweet potatoes are high in anti-inflammatory benefits.  One sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamins A and E also support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease fighting antioxidants. While orange sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, purple sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for red, blue and purple colors in fruits and vegetables.

The high level of Vitamin A also contributes to healthy glowing skin and hair and promotes collagen growth.

Ok well sign me up. But how do I cook them?

There are all kinds of healthy and tasty ways to eat sweet potatoes year round. Below is one of my favorite, quick and easy ways to eat them. You seriously can’t go wrong roasting any vegetable in my opinion.

Oh, brussel sprouts are also making an appearance with them, don’t go hatin’ on them ok? Roasted together with olive oil and cracked pepper and sea salt are amazing.

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Cold sweet potatoes are always tasty the next  morning tossed in with my other veggies and eggs.

If you don’t like those options, I’ll toss in a couple recipes here from my Pinterest board for you.

You’re welcome for the last one 😉

You can always turn a potato into a meal by adding healthy proteins like lean chicken or turkey. Black beans are pretty tasty with it too.

Wrapping it up….

Oh. Yeah you can wrap them in foil and just bake them too, nothing fancy required there. Sweet potatoes are a healthy. low calorie, food choice that offer again, lots of good nutritional value to your daily eating plan.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways to eat them, but be mindful too that various add in’s can move up the calorie count.

Tell me, do you like sweet potatoes? Do you eat them all year, or just occasionally?