Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.

Roasted Lentils ~ South Beach Diet

Wow!  I’ve just found a new delicious snack that can take the place of popcorn or anything salty and crunchy!

This is another recipe from my new SBD Quick Cookbook.  I cooked up my own dried green lentils, but feel free to use the canned as stated in the recipe.

The summary topper for the recipe reads as follows:

Here’s a novel and healthy Phase 1 snack for those who love crunch but are tired of popcorn.  Canned lentils are tossed with a little olive oil and adobo seasoning, then roasted.  You can buy adobo seasoning, typically a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, turmeric, oregano and sometimes salt and dried citrus zest, at most supermarkets in the US.  If you can’t find adobo seasoning, then you could just as easily toss the lentils with another seasoning mix of your choice or just plain sea salt.

ROASTED ADOBO LENTILS

2 cans (15oz each) or 856g lentils, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1½ tsp adobo seasoning (I used a seasoned sea salt)

*****************

Heat oven to 425°f/220°c.  Using a paper towel, pat the lentils dry.

In a bowl, combine the lentils, oil and seasoning and toss/stir to coat well.

Transfer to a foil lined rimmed baking sheet, spreading the lentils in a single layer.

Roast the lentils, shaking the pan occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until lightly crisp.

Allow to cool briefly on the baking sheet before serving warm or at room temperature.

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The lentils will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container at room temp…if they last that long!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Apricot Oat Bars ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve All!

SBDQECookbookAs you know from my post a few days ago, I’m back on the wagon…the proper eating wagon that is.  I have a couple of the SBD books (The original book, SBD Supercharged and the SBD Cookbook).  I decided to order a couple more so I got the SBD Good Carbs/Bad Carbs handbook and also The SBD Super Quick Cookbook.

I’ve only had the books a week and I’ve already made six recipes from the cookbook!  They all have been rather easy to put together and quite tasty also.  Tonight I’m making Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Mint Sauce which is another SBD recipe, but not from this cookbook.

I thought I would share the recipe I made early this morning.

These bars contain no flour at all and use rolled oats instead, so they are a Phase 2 food.  They are listed under the ‘breakfast’ section and make 12 bars, allowing for 1 bar per serving.  The recipe calls for peanut butter and dried apricots, but you can substitute another no-sugar-added nut butter, such as cashew and use dried cranberries or chopped dried apples or pears instead of the apricots.  It also calls for 1/4 cup granular sugar substitute (such as Splenda or Stevia) but I don’t have these in bulk, only in the small packets and didn’t feel like having to open who-knows-how-many so instead, used 3 tablespoons of agave nectar, which is allowed on Phase 2.  This comes out to less than one teaspoon per bar.

APRICOT OAT BARS

1/2 C natural creamy no-sugar-added peanut butter

1/4 C water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg whites (about 6 tablespoons)

1/4 C granular sugar substitute or 3 Tbsp agave nectar

2/3 C dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 C walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 C rolled oats (not instant)

1/4 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.  Line a 9″x9″ (23cmX23cm) baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2inch (5cm) overhang on 2 sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water and vanilla.

Add the egg whites and whisk again.

Add the remaining ingredients until combined.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat with moistened hands until even.

Bake for 15 minutes until crisp and set.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, the using the overhang, lift out of the pan.

Cut immediately into 12 bars.

Apricot Oat Bars

Store in an airtight container.  They can also be wrapped individually and stored in the freezer where they will keep for 3 months.

Great for a take-along snack or breakfast.  Pack one in your purse or backpack and it will be thawed by the tine you’re ready to enjoy it.  Have with a glass of low-fat milk for added protein.

Nutrition per bar:

154 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g protein, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 62mg sodium

Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

South Beach Diet ~ Here we go Again!

Good day, dear readers!

weight-loss-cartoonWell as we all know, a new year usually signals the time to get back to proper eating and for me, it’s no different.  As many of you know, I’m an avid follower of the South Beach Diet (SBD) and am the first one to promote its wonderful, healthy way of eating, but over the past few months several months year an a half, I’ve completely slipped off the wagon as if it were covered in grease.

When I was following it back in 2010, I managed to lose 28lbs.  I felt great, I dropped 3 sizes, I had more energy, my clothes weren’t tight and it wasn’t a struggle to bend over and tie my sneakers!  I hit a plateau in my weight…something I’m sure all of us who have ever dieted before knows all too well about.  After a while I slowly started to eat things I shouldn’t have and the weight has slowly crept back on to me and I managed to gain back 20 lbs….sigh.

DietscaleMost of last year I kept telling myself that I needed to get back to proper eating (I never refer to it as going on a ‘diet’) and would always say I would start on Monday.  Obviously, that never happened as Monday would roll around and I’d be repeating the same mantra again.  Each time I stepped on the scale; maybe once a month or so, my weight would increase by a pound or more.  Sometimes it would actually stay the same and I would be quite thankful.

As the recent holidays approached, I started psyching myself up that I was going back to SBD after the new year and I have kept that promise to myself.  I didn’t start exactly on Jan 1, but on Jan 5 as I wanted to make sure I had all the proper foods in the house and also to get rid of all the junk such as all the crackers, cheese, canapes and especially the chocolate.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost nearly 5lbs. and even though it’s a slow start, at least the numbers on the scale are going down and not up!

Many of us try to lose weight in the new year, and even though I’m sure you’ve heard most of the following before, it’s always good to get a refresher as it becomes engrained in our brains and hopefully stays there!  Breaking old eating habits can be tough, but here’s a few tips to help you on the way and hopefully keep your (and my) motivation high…

* Get rid of everything that will tempt you into unhealthy eating.  This includes cakes, cookies/biscuits, pies, chips/crisps, chocolates, candies, sweets and any other junk food you might have sitting around.

*Have some healthy snacks handy.  An apple with a small amount of sugar-free peanut butter or low-fat cheese, some wholegrain crackers with low-fat cheese, a few spoonfuls of fat-free Greek yogurt with some berries and artificial sweetener.  Celery sticks with a small amount of low fat cream cheese.  A small handful of nuts; almonds and walnuts are great choices.  You get the idea.

*Try to find a friend who also wants to lose weight and you can do it together.  Going along with a friend will help you achieve your goal as you are there to push each other along.

*Start an exercise program if you haven’t already.  You don’t need to spend hours (or money!) at the gym.  Put on a pair of walking shoes and head outside.  Start slow if you’re not used to doing a great deal of walking.  Even 10-15 minutes of walking is better than sitting down in front of the TV.  Get yourself a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day and work your way up to that.  A 10-minute walk is around 1,000 steps. Remember, the more you move, the more calories you burn.  You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight.

*Be realistic.  Keep your ultimate goal at the back of your mind, but focus on the small bites that will help you get there, such as a certain amount of weight to lose each week.

*Keep focused and motivated by reminding yourself why you want to lose weight.  Whether it’s for health reasons or to fit into your wedding gown or swim suit this Summer, it’s easier to do something when you’re clear about why you’re doing it.

sugar1*Lower your sugar intake.  Many foods have hidden sugar such as ketchup, peanut butter, canned soup, bread and salad dressings.  Try to avoid ‘light’ products such as mayonnaise as they compensate for the lower fat by adding more sugar. Too much sugar can play havoc with your blood glucose levels and increase your risk for diabetes. It may also cause obesity, and increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. It has even been linked to cancer.

*Avoid white foods: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  A sweet potato is actually better than a white potato, swap white rice for brown or wild rice and go for whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads.  They all provide more fiber which is digested more slowly and doesn’t give you that sharp spike in glucose levels which leaves you feeling hungry.  You can also replace rice with grains such as whole wheat couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa or barley.  Oats are a great way to start your day, but avoid the instant oats.

*Try to limit your eating of the starchy vegetables such as green peas, parsnips, beets, corn, pumpkin, turnips and carrots as these all contain a higher level of carbohydrates than other veggies.

*You should also limit yourself on the following fruit for the same reason as the starchy veggies: canned fruit, all fruit juice, raisins, pineapple and watermelon.

So there you go.  There are so many more ideas and thoughts that go along with all of this, but I figured this is enough for now.

Maybe it’s time to go build a snowman….

♥  Terri  ♥

Food Gifts ~ Candied Clementines

I’m always looking for new and unusual things to make for the markets, particularly the Christmas Craft Fairs.  One of them I’m doing on the 8th is going to be situated at a hand-made shop; no, I don’t mean the shop is handmade, but that they sell handmade items!  So I thought it appropriate that I have some different homemade items other than my preserves and chutneys.

I found a recipe a few weeks ago for Candied Clementine Slices.  The picture with the recipe had them set into a pretty gift box so I decided this would be a nice item to have on offer at the fair.

It’s a fairly straight forward and easy recipe; it just takes a good bit of time: 2 hours simmering, 2 hours baking plus an hour for drying prior to dipping in chocolate.

***Candied Clementine Slices***

  • 600g (1½ lbs – about 9 fruit) clementines
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) granulated sugar
  • 500ml (17fl oz) cold water
  • 5-6 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 100g (3½ oz) dark chocolate

♣ Cut the clementines into thin slices (about 4-5 per fruit) and discard the ends.

Sliced Clementines

♣ Put the granulated sugar into a large pan with the water and heat gently, stirring until dissolved.  Bring to a boil and let bubble for 5 minutes.

Sugar syrup - pre-boil

Boiling sugar syrup

♣ Add the fruit slices, lower the heat and give it a little stir.  Simmer for 2 hours, carefully stirring occasionally, until the peel is translucent and tender.

Clementines in sugar syrup

♣ While the fruit is simmering, line two baking trays with nonstick baking paper and set aside.

♣ Preheat the oven to a low setting (gas ¼, 110°C, fan 90°C, 230°F).

♣ Using a fork, transfer the slices to the lined baking trays in a single layer.  Bake for 2 hours.

In the oven!

♣ Put the caster sugar into a bowl.  Leaving the oven on, remove only one tray from the oven at a time.  Dip each slice into it and place on a wire rack to dry for 1 hour.  You’ll need to work a bit quickly for this step because the slices will start to dry on the baking sheet and the sugar won’t stick.  If that happens, put the tray back into the oven while you work on the other tray.

♣ If not needed immediately, store the slices in an airtight container.  I put them in single layers separated by greaseproof paper.

Drying...

♣ Shortly before giving, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Dip the slices into the chocolate to cover half.

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♣ Place on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper, leave to set at room temperature, then gift wrap as desired.  I put about 9 slices (100g) into a disposable mini loaf pan lined with a doily, put each one into a decorative bag and folded down, taped and then put ribbon and a Christmas sticker.

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Have fun with these on the decorating and gift wrapping.  If giving these to a foodie, perhaps wrap them and put them into a cookie canister or a pretty serving bowl to give to the recipient.  Give with a bottle of Port or Whiskey.  How about with some tea leaves and tea cups?  The possibilities are endless…just use your imagination!

These make great little gifts for perhaps your neighbors, the babysitter, the mailman, the paperboy, your child’s teacher, your hairdresser or dentist or your favorite clerk at the bank.  Going to a party this holiday season?  Bring some of these to your hostess along with a small candle or bottle of their favorite wine.  Who would you give these to?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Friday Foodie Word ~ GARN…

Happy Friday All!

As I forgot to request a Friday Foodie word from my readers again, I have selected one myself.

I opened the book to page 241 and put my finger down on the 17th word, which is…

GARNACHE

 

Mexico ~ A turnover made with tortilla dough, filled with a savory stuffing and cooked.  It is used as an appetizer or snack.  It is also called picada or sope.

 

 

 

 

 
Have a great weekend everyone!

♥  Terri  ♥

Yummus Hummus

Happy 4th of July to all of you across the pond! 

For those of you who don’t really know, Independence Day is a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. 

OK, that’s your history lesson for today…now back to the barbecue!

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

And speaking of a barbecue, whether you’re hosting one or going to one, here’s a quick dish you can whip up, assuming you can get all the ingredients!

It’s a light dish and you don’t have to worry too much about it staying hot or cold as it can be served at room temperature (but do chill it before serving), or I guess in the case of a barbecue…outdoor temperature!  Just cut up some fresh veggies to go with it and you’ve got a simple plate of goodness!

Me, I like to just have it in the fridge as a snack with some raw veggies when I’m feeling peckish!  Most recipes suggest drizzling olive oil on top, but I don’t bother, but that’s up to you.

~~HOMEMADE HUMMUS(HOUMOUS)~~

◊ This will make about 1¼ cups ◊ Equipment needed: Food Processor ◊

2 garlic cloves, peeled

juice of 1/2 lemon

290g / 10¼oz chickpeas, drained

4 Tbsp tahini paste

1/4 tsp each ground cumin

1/4 tsp each ground coriander, curry powder (both optional, but adds more flavor)

salt, to taste

water

extra virgin olive oil, to serve

HERE’S WHAT TO DO…

With the food processor running, throw in the garlic cloves and allow them to mince.

Add the lemon juice and chickpeas and pulse about 5-6 times.

Add tahini paste and seasonings and pulse a few more times.  Add a little bit of water at a time with the processor running until desired consistency, scraping down the sides of bowl occasionally.  (I ended up using roughly about 1/4 cup of water)

Scrape hummus out into a serving bowl and chill for about 3-4 hours.  Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top prior to serving, if desired.

Serve with fresh raw veggies such as celery and carrot sticks, pepper strips, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. or stuff the celery sticks and perhaps sprinkle with a bit of curry powder or cumin for a decorative touch.

Enjoy!

Have a safe 4th everyone!

♥♥ Terri  ♥♥