Spotlight On Almonds

Hello world! Wow what a busy week it’s been! So many exciting things going on, some I’ll share in my upcoming Monday Musings post, so you’ll wanna check back for that 🙂 I will say, some days, I wish I had just a little more time. I’m sure everyone feels like that at some point, so I’ve learned to really try and be focused on things that require “immediate” attention from those I think that do but could actually wait.  It helps take some things out of my mind for awhile. Often I tend to be juggling multiple projects at once, that works for some things but not for others. I also love lists so I’ve found if I get it on a list it’s also a way to take it off my mind while still keeping it in a place where I won’t forget it haha

I thought we’d go a little nuts on todays food spotlight. Nuts offer a huge amount of health and nutrition benefits. We’re gonna just take a look at one of them today, one which happens to be my favorite and is often a guest with my breakfast yogurt and fresh fruit.

Say hello to Mr. Almond.

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Almonds deliver a massive amount of nutrition in their small package.

The almond is the edible seed that grows on the tree Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree.

Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the United States is now the world’s largest producer.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

They are sold either raw (often referred to as “natural”) or roasted.

Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutritional profile.

A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains

  • Fiber: 3.5 grams.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated, the good healthy kind)
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

This is all from a small handful, which supplies only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates.

It is also important to note that 10-15% of an almond’s calories are not absorbed by the body, because the fat is too difficult to access and break down.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants,

Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin.

For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.

Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits. It’s also good for healthy skin and hair.

Almonds are also extremely high in magnesium, a mineral most people don’t get enough of. Higher magnesium intake may have major benefits for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Low magnesium levels are also linked to high blood pressure indicating that almonds could be good for blood pressure control.

Almonds can also increase energy production.  Copper, riboflavin and manganese present in almonds assist in metabolic rate and energy production. If you are pressed for time, grab a handful of almonds for a crunchy, satisfying snack to help you out.

How about one more health tidbit?

Unsweetened almonds are a great option to use if you are trying to lose weight. Almonds contain a lot of mon-unsaturated fats, which is what satiates your hunger pangs, helping you not to over eat no matter what. The dietary fiber in almonds also makes you feel fuller for long periods of time, despite consuming only a small quantity. Research suggests that a diet that is low calorie and also rich in almonds is excellent for obese people since it helps them shed excess weight faster.

Remember, as with any food, no matter how “good” it is for you, to much isn’t always a good thing and can lead to weight gain so monitor your portion sizes as it’s easy to over eat on them.

Other almond uses…

Of course some of the uses of almonds now days involve milk and flour. I will say I tried almond milk… once… thinking I might try and be one of the cool health kids.

Gross.

No.

One big drink made me gag and wonder why on earth anyone would drink it, unless they had no alternative because of allergy or lactose issues.

I will stick with my dairy as I know it. No offense if you like it, it just isn’t my cup of tea..or milk….

And as far as the trend with almond flour, I have no experience with it. I just bake the old fashioned way with old fashioned flour 😉

Almonds as a snack come in a variety of ways. I buy them raw and use them in my breakfast yogurt or as a snack. You can also get them in various flavors, just be careful with sodium intake on them.

They also can be used in your meals…..

How about a couple tasty recipe ideas?

 

 

Ok your turn. Do you like almonds? Do you have thoughts on almond “milk”? Have you tried almond flour for baking?

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Food And Guilty Feelings

Food and guilt. If there’s ever a time I hear people talking about what they ate and feeling guilty over it, it’s after a holiday.

We just wrapped up the big celebratory 4th of July here in the states on Wed.  A summer holiday offering all kinds of tasty food treats… everything from outdoor BBQ, hotdogs, apple pie, salads etc it’s a day built for family and food.

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Now I’m not gonna verbally slap you if you are one of those who take on guilt for eating or eating to much or eating all of your favorite thing ( where DID those brownies go??)  but seriously, guilt and food do not and should not go hand in hand.

However it is a tendency for people to do so, especially after a holiday.

Why do we have those feelings?

Seriously. Why do we food shame? Why do we entertain thoughts of guilt when food is such a huge part of our lives and is enjoyed with family and friends?

If we indulge and we’ve labeled foods as “good” or “bad” and we indulge in the “bad” then we somehow have put ourselves into categories of good or bad, strong or weak, worthy or unworthy.

“I didn’t eat dessert while everyone else did. I am stronger than they are”   or “I ate dessert and I’m  trying to diet. I’m so weak.

As if being strong, good and worthy somehow makes us better for passing on the food or eating that extra brownie makes us weak and unworthy.

Both ways of thinking are not right.

Both ways can lead to dysfunctional thinking with food. If you missed my post on food and dysfunctional thinking, find it here   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/06/food-and-dysfunctional-thinking/

In some ways we are wired to restrict ourselves and when we let go of that “restriction” those negative feelings can come.

But hey… get this… our inability to resist “forbidden” foods isn’t a moral failing… ok?

It might not be the best for you to go back for a third serving or eat until your stomach is stuffed and tight, but it’s not a moral failing.

I hope in time, if over eating is a problem for you, that you can get balance to that in your life.

But feeling guilty when we are hanging with friends or family and eating food while having a good time, well it’s not right.

I mean at Christmas when I make my famous cut out sugar cookies that I adore ( seriously they are  made with a whole pack of real butter, and a package of cream cheese) I eat them… and I don’t always keep track of them either.

Does anyone really NEED a sugar cookie… or 12… ?  I’m not that bad… but you follow.

It’s all about that balance…..

When we put those foods into “good” or “bad” groups and restrict ourselves, the more prone we are to want to eat what we’ve deemed “bad”. Then when we give in and eat them ( maybe at a holiday ) then we tend to over indulge, over eat, because of the restrictions we’ve placed on ourselves.

I mean, isn’t a holiday the perfect time to take the brakes off and just let it all go? Ugh.. the times I hear this at the approaching “holiday season”

Then enter our friend, Mr. Guilt, who is there to remind you of what a failure you are and how you’ll always be weak to doing this and you might as well give it up and forget about it..

But here’s a novel thought…..

When you have balance to your eating, you don’t have the good food/bad food game going on.

Food is just food.

Some foods definitely do not support an overall healthy lifestyle and shouldn’t be heavily indulged in, for sure.  On a daily basis our eating should reflect good, natural, healthy foods to maintain a balanced weight and health.

A current example in my life I can share is this. The other day I really, and I mean, really, wanted French fries.

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They are hands down at the top of my “favorite non-essential foods” list.  I rarely eat them.  Why? Because I know (overall) a frequent intake of them does not support my health and fitness goals.

I also know, having them occasionally won’t sabotage my fitness level or overall health.

So I went to a place I knew wouldn’t disappoint ’cause if I’m gonna eat them, they better be good.

They were amazing. Hot, crispy, salted just right. Totally worth every useless calorie.

I enjoyed them, no guilt attached.

So how do you make the guilt stop?

Ok let’s be honest, at a point, you know you’ve had more food than what you really need, right?  Unfortunately those feelings just become a vicious circle of feeling bad, then eating again to feel better about feeling bad.

The reason we feel this way is what I mentioned above, the place of restriction so many keep themselves in.

When you don’t restrict yourself it means all the food is available to you. It takes power away because it’s no longer in the “off limits” section.

That may seem scary to some of you… I mean… nothing restricted? what if I just go crazy and eat it all the time?

What if you do? I don’t think you will though.

I tell you,  even if you may be tempted to have your favorite thing for days, the novelty will wear off. You may not want it at all because now you won’t be thinking of it as something you “can’t” have.  In time those foods will have less and less pull on you, meaning when you go to a holiday meal you can enjoy the things you love without going crazy because well, you haven’t long term restricted yourself.

It’s a pretty free place to be.

How to stop food guilt.

My mom used to say “what’s done is done”

If you’ve had a moment and you know you went overboard, nothing is gonna change that.

You CAN however learn from it.

Forget the whole “negate what you ate” nonsense by thinking you’re gonna workout extra hard the next day. You can’t undo what you ate. You can get up and go workout as you always do and that will be fine.

Think about how you feel afterwards. Do you really like the feelings that come with it? Now days, I tend to get annoyed with myself for mindlessly eating something that offers no benefit to me. I know better and therefore, get frustrated that I didn’t do what I know to do, which is walk away.

Stop restrictive thinking and behaviors.  So what if you might have a day or two where you slip or make choices you aren’t happy with?

Welcome to the club, we all do it.  The key is to keep moving forward, learning from the choices we make and growing in positive ways.

Don’t quit. For heavens sake don’t quit.

Stop shaming yourself. Own what you did and move on. Like anything, with repetitive practice, the things we do become new habits. In time you will learn to eat with a healthier balance and check system.

Make a list of five foods you enjoy but feel guilty about eating.  Write down the reason why you feel guilt over it. Is it rational or irrational? Is it scientifically true?  Then for each of those write something positive about it. It’s taste, nutritional value, how it smells, feelings it evokes. There is no right or wrong answer to this.  Then allow yourself to pick one of these at a time, eat it, think about it, enjoy it.  What do you enjoy most about it? If any guilty feelings come up, use your positive statements to push them away. In time you might determine some foods on your list aren’t worth keeping and that’s ok too.

Guilt and eating do not need to go hand in hand, it is another form of how our thinking has become disordered with food.

Remember food guilt at it’s best is emotional baggage. Learn to let go of it.

Your turn. Have you ever struggled with guilty feelings and eating? How did you overcome them? Or do you still struggle with those feelings?

 

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 ?

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?