Eat All You Want & Don’t Gain! Really!

fruitsEveryone who follows this blog regularly knows that #ThisGirlLovesToEat.  Anything that lets me eat unregulated amounts of food that I like, except kale #IHateKale, without bursting out of my jeans is something that is going to catch my attention. Sounds unlikely?  I know, I doubt it too, but I’m willing to be a guinea pig!

According to scientists, you can eat as much of these 14 foods and not gain any weight due to their high water and low-starch fiber content while containing very few calories.

These foods are not high in muscle building (and fat burning) protein, but they are filled with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.

Celery:celery

  • 95% Water
  • Contains potassium, folate, fiber, and 30% of your daily requirement of vitamin K
  • Has about 6 calories per serving
  • Eat when fresh – celery loses most of it’s nutritional benefits after 5-7 days

Kale:

  • One of the few foods that contains an Omega 3 Fatty Acid
  • 1 Cup has about 33 calories
  • High in vitamins and folate

Blueberries:three-blueberries

  • Champion in the Antioxidant world – has more than any other fruit
  • 1 cup has about 85 calories
  • 1 cup has 14% of the recommended daily requirement of fiber

Cucumbers:

  • 96% Water
  • 16 calories per serving
  • Seeds and skin contain most of the Fiber and Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) which is good for your eyes

Tomatoes:tomatoes

  • Contain lycopene, a carotenoid, which helps fight against chronic diseases
  • High in vitamins A, C, and B2, as well as folate, chromium, potassium, and fiber
  • 1 medium-sized tomato has about 25 calories

Grapefruit:

  • High in fiber, which stabilizes blood sugar helps you feel fuller for longer
  • 1/2 a grapefruit has about 50 calories
  • High in Vitamin C and folate
  • Grapefruit has been found to help in weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and improving digestion

Broccoli:Broccoli

  • Contains an anticarcinogen known as sulforaphane
  • Most nutritious when eaten raw or steamed
  • Contains vitamins A, C, E, and K
  • 1 serving contains 20% of your daily fiber requirement
  • 1 serving has about 31 calories

Cantaloupe:cantaloupeandhoneydow

  • Contains beta carotene, a form of vitamin A that promotes healthy eyes
  • Contains potassium
  • Contains more than 100% of your daily recommended value of vitamins A and C
  • 90% Water
  • 1 serving has about 55 calories

Cauliflower:

  • Contains antioxidants and phytochemicals to help fight off chronic disease
  • An excellent source of folate, fiber, and vitamins C and K
  • Has about 25 calories per serving

Blackberries:The blackberry

  • Blackberries can help your brain to stay alert
  • Rich in vitamin C as well as antioxidants known as bioflavonoids
  • Can aid with digestion
  • Tightens tissue, leading to younger-looking skin
  • 1 serving has about 62 calories

Lettuce:

  • Whether Romaine, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Romain, etc.: 96% Water
  • Folate, iron, and vitamins A and C
  • 1 serving has 10 to 20 calories

Oranges:

  • High in Vitamin C which is crucial in collagen production: oranges help keep skin free of damage and looking good
  • Medium orange has about 80 calories
  • You need to eat the white stuff under an orange’s skin (pith) it contains a lot of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels

Strawberries:strawberries-on-white-plate

  • Fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free (healthy for the heart)
  • More vitamin C in one serving of strawberries than there is in one orange
  • Tons of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant
  • A good source of potassium and fiber
  • 1 Cup of strawberries has about 50 calories

Honeydew Melons:

  • Only slightly more calories per serving than cantaloupe (64)
  • Contains over half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C
  • Contains over half of the recommended daily value of copper, which is crucial for healthy skin

If you are interested in more scientific details, you can read the original article on INSIDER.

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

20 Natural Disease Fighters

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Lemon Turmeric Energy Balls

lemon-turmeric-energy-balls

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and am so excited to try it.

I have a tree bursting with Meyer Lemons in my backyard and just got a fresh delivery of Medjool Dates from Hadley Fruit Orchards in Cabazon, CA.  I can’t possibly ONLY drink date milkshakes (although I’d love to try), and I need to find a way to get more turmeric, with it’s anti-inflammatory gifts, into my diet, so this is a win-win.

I may even make a batch that substitutes blood orange for the lemon because I also have a tree full of ripe Blood Oranges. #CaliforniaGirlCitrusProblems

In the ginger family, turmeric is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes in many different regions’ cuisines: South Asia, Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia), India, Eastern Asia, the Middle East, Iran, South Africa, and Thailand among others. In Medieval Europe it was known as Indian Saffron because it was used as an alternative to the more expensive and harder to get spice.

Lemon Turmeric Energy Balls

  • 12 dried Medjool dates
  • 1 cup old-fashioned gluten-free oats
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, for dusting
  1. Remove the pits from dates and soak them in hot water for several minutes. When the dates are softened, drain them and place in food processor. Save the water.
  2. Add the other ingredients to a food processor and blend until mixture turns into a dough-like consistency. Add 1 tablespoon of water from soaking the dates if the mixture is too dry.
  3. With the small spoon scoop the mixture and roll into balls. Roll the balls in shredded coconut and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Store energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.

    Notes: Energy balls can be kept frozen up to 3 months.

    You can find the original recipe at http://www.natalieshealth.com/

    If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Easy Roasted Tomato Soup

fellp20150820_lowCalifornia’s multiple personality disorder has reared it’s ugly head again.  The weather, which had been giving us a normal winter for a change, has turned on a dime and we have Santa Ana winds, sunshine and warm temperatures just a day after rain clouds and temperatures in the low 60’s.  Ugh!  This is really screwing with my pre-planned menus!

Screw it!  I planned to make soup for dinner and soup it will be.  I don’t care if it’s warm outside or not.  If anyone complains they can chill theirs like gazpacho.

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 1 Poblano Chili (Stem and Seed Pod Removed if Desired)
  • 6 Large Tomatoes (Hard Stems Cut Out)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion (Peeled and Halved)
  • 5 Large Carrots (Peeled & Tops Removed)

Preheat oven to 350°F

Place the onion, cut side down, onto an oiled baking pan along with the peeled carrots, the poblano chili and the 6 tomatoes (cut tops up). Tip:  For added flavor, I roast my chili with the stem and seed pod in and remove them before throwing into the Vitamix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tomato skins begin to crack and peel.

Preparation Option 1 – VITAMIX:

If you have a Vitamix with a soup setting like I do (it’s on the Professional Series 750), the steps are simple from here.  All you do is throw all of the roasted vegetables into the container, place the lid on securely, turn the dial to the soup setting, depress the start button and wait for the cycle to end when it’s done chopping/blending and cooking the soup.

Preparation Option 2 -Blender or Food Processor and Stove Top:

Place the onion, chili and carrots into the blender/processor container and pulse to chop the vegetables up.  Then turn the blender to puree and mix until the vegetables are well chopped.  Add the tomatoes 1 at a time blending on high until all are well incorporated.  If you run out of room in your container, move 1/2 of your vegetable mixture to the pan you’ll be heating the soup in.  When all of the vegetables are blended/pureed, heat in a pan on the stove until warm enough to eat.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Foods That Keep You Hydrated

Pouring water into glass

We all know it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when it’s hot outside, but what you eat matters too.  When you become dehydrated, your body loses electrolytes in addition to water which can cause you to feel constipated, weak, dizzy, confused, and can cause drastic changes in mood and behavior.

“Our bodies are made up of more than half water and we use it for pretty much every bodily function — from regulating body temperature to removing waste to lubricating joints to carrying oxygen to the cells.” says Rachel Berman, a registered dietician and senior director of content at Verywell.

hydratingfoods

In addition to these six delicious foods that help meet your every day hydration needs, Shape Magazine adds 25 additional foods that help keep you hydrated when temperatures and humidity rise and you are losing your body’s water stores through a rise in body temperature and increased sweating as your body attempts to cool itself down.

  1. Cucumbers:  Primarily made up of water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling;
  2. Mixed Greens: Most lettuce greens contain 94% water, making it a low-energy density food. In other words, you’ll feel fuller on fewer calories and lose weight faster;
  3. Tomato Sauce:  Most store-bought tomato sauces are about 90% water. Plus, one 1/2 cup serving of tomato sauce has only 50 calories and 0 grams of fat;
  4. Chicken Noodle Soup:  Each cup has about 840 milligrams of sodium to help you retain the broth and 14 grams of carbohydrates to help you absorb it
  5. Eggplant:  They’re high in fiber and water but low in calories. Due to sponge-like texture it absorbs oil, so avoid preparations that include frying;
  6. Applesauce:  Unsweetened, natural applesauce is the best;
  7. Cantaloupe:  Packed with flavor, 90% water but just 56 calories per cup. One cup of cantaloupe also provides 103.2 percent of the daily value for vitamin A;
  8. Fruit Juice Popsicles:  They refill your fluids, cool you down, and boost energy;
  9. Bell Peppers:  92% water, and rich sources of  vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid;
  10. Pears:  6 grams of soluble fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer, which means it can help you lose weight;
  11. Romaine Lettuce:  Slightly less water content than iceberg lettuce, but 3 times more folate, 6 times more vitamin C, and 8 times the beta-carotene;
  12. Carrots:  87% water and more of the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene than any other vegetable or fruit. Studies have found that compounds in carrots help protect against skin, lung and oral cavity cancers;
  13. Mangoes:  135 calories and they’re a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C, plus fiber;
  14. Apples:  Linked to lower cholesterol levels, weight loss and preventing a host of chronic health woes—cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and even certain cancers;
  15. Grapefruit:  According to researchers at Scripps Clinic in California, the chemical properties of grapefruit lower insulin levels and help control appetite, which can lead to weight loss;
  16. Yogurt: With a substantial amount of potassium and sodium, it can help replace the lost electrolytes and re-energize your body;
  17. Naval Oranges:  Oranges are 87% water and contain more than 100% RDA of Vitamin C;
  18. Raw Broccoli: 91% water, Vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and few calories;
  19. Raspberries:  More fiber (8 grams per cup) than any other commonly consumed berry. Plus, they’re packed with ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant that is thought to help prevent and fight cancer (particularly skin, breast, lung, bladder and esophagus);
  20. Celery:  96% water, but it also provides a combination of mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins that research shows may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water;
  21. Wild Blueberries:  Studies link blueberries to everything from cancer prevention and better heart health, to anti-aging and improved eyesight;
  22. Raw Spinach:  At seven calories per cup, hydrating spinach is undeniably a great food to fill up on when you want to lose weight. One cup provides more then 50 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, as well as being high in protein and vitamin C;
  23. Red Seedless Grapes:  The skins of red grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to reduce risk for heart disease;
  24. Sugar Free Jello:  Sugar-free Jell-O is low in calories, sweet, and refreshing;
  25. Kiwifruit:  56 calories and 20 percent more vitamin C than an orange.

With all of these tasty choices, many of which that can be found year round (or frozen when bought in season) or at least bought online or frozen from Whole Foods, Sprouts and other organic type grocers when they aren’t, being uninspired by water is no reason to allow yourself to become dehydrated.

If you suffer from an allergy, have a truly impossible reason that you have difficulty finding many of these fruits, or just don’t care for many of these choices, you can always flavor plain water with any one of these items (or a combination) that satisfies your tastebuds like:

  • Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruits or other Citrus;
  • Mint
  • Cucumber
  • Sliced Grapes
  • Any type of Berry
  • Herbal Tea (Hot or Cold)
  • Gatorade or any other sport drink type drink mix packet
  • Crystal light or other zero calorie drink flavor additive
  • Anything else you can think of that doesn’t add tremendous sweetness or calories and weigh down the refreshment of the water

Cheers to healthy hydration!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Handy Guide To Chili Peppers

chile-primer-various-peppersMy husband and some of my friends see peppers as a challenge.  The hotter the better.  They love to burn the heck out of their mouths and sweat & suffer afterward.

Not me.  I like my food spicy, but I still like the ability to taste and enjoy my food after I feel the burn.  Not the “Bern” that Bernie Sanders supporters feel 😉 , but the burn that a zip of spicy pepper adds to a dish.

Peppers, like salt, acid and fat, are essential flavor building blocks upon which dishes are built.  In an article at www.bonappetit.com, Amiel Stanek encourages readers to “tease out” the subtle nuances of spice in the season’s crop of peppers using some very specific techniques.  As someone who likes the taste, but not necessarily the need for a fire extinguisher after a bite, I appreciate the guidance.

Stanek reminds home cooks that peppers aren’t just spicy.  They’re also flavor bombs hiding hints of fruitiness, floral notes, earthiness, and “funk.”  To begin to experiment with these hidden flavors, a cook must first work on mellowing the pepper’s spice a bit:

  1. Remove the seeds – Using a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, remove the seed pod beneath the stem and white membranes that hold the rest of the seeds within.
  2. Char – You can do this whole on the grill, under the broiler, or directly on a stovetop gas burner and peel off the burnt layer before seeding them.
  3. Soak – Capsaicin, the compound that makes a pepper hot, is alcohol soluble. When using the hottest peppers, remove membranes and seeds, muddle, and soak in vodka for anywhere from a few hours up to a couple of days.

For a great, printable reference of the varied types of peppers and their levels of spiciness, from mild to “grab a fire extinguisher,” click on this link.

A recipe I shared earlier this year was for one of my favorite cocktail hour snacks on steak and salad night:  Blistered Shishito Peppers.  Take my advice and make a double batch!  These suckers are addicting and one batch is never enough.  If you have any left, put them in a re-sealable container or zip bag and toss in the refrigerator.  These are easily revived in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil a day or two later.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Luscious Lemorancello

I am still up to my eyeballs in fresh citrus, so I found a new project from which I will be able to make some really fun desserts!

slicecake_w_lemons11Have you ever been to an Italian restaurant and seen Limoncello on the after dinner drink menu or seen some type of Limoncello Cake on the dessert menu?   Limoncello is a syrupy liqueur that is smooth and sweet with an intense lemon flavor.  It can be sipped on its own, mixed into sparkling water, or shaken into cocktails.

I had no idea that Limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy.  Considering that both my family and my husband’s have Northern Italian roots, I was amazed to realize neither of us had ever tried this particular yummy treat!  I think that counts as some kind of neglect or child abuse 😉

The process to make homemade Limoncello (or in this case, since I am combining blood orange and Meyer lemon peels:  Lemorancello) is quite easy and much less expensive than buying a smaller bottle of the commercially bottled version.

Lisa’s Luscious Lemorancello

  • 1 – 750 ml Bottle Vodka (80 Proof is fine, but 100 Proof is even better)
  • 5 – Medium Sized Meyer Lemons
  • 5 – Medium Sized Oranges (I have Blood Oranges, So I am using those)
  1. Remove the peels from the lemons and oranges.  Put the fruit in a zip bag to freeze for later use.  I peel them whole and then use a spoon to scrape away the pith, but you can also use a vegetable peeler.  It’s important to leave as little of the bitter white pith as possible.
  2. Once you have peeled the fruit and removed the pith from the skins, slice the peels into narrow strips and put the peel into a 32 oz container with a lid then pour the vodka over the peels.  I prefer glass so that any dormant odors don’t transfer from plastic into the vodka.
  3. Seal the container tightly and put aside in a cabinet – or at least on a counter out of direct sunlight.
  4. Infuse your blood orange & lemon peels in the vodka for at least 1 week to a month or longer. Most of the fruit flavor is extracted in the first few days, the longer you let it sit the bolder the flavor will be.  I’m going to let mine sit undisturbed for 6 weeks.

You don’t need to worry about mold or bacteria growing while it is infusing.  The alcohol prevents any mold or other bacteria from growing on the fruit.

When you decide that you just can’t wait to enjoy your treat any longer, it’s time to strain out the fruit peels and combine the infused vodka with simple syrup.

TIP:  You can use any amount 1 C Water to 1 C Sugar up to 4 Cups Water to 4 Cups Sugar.  More water will dilute the alcohol percentage and make the liqueur milder.

  1. Make your simple syrup:  In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar (I use superfine baker’s sugar) with 1 cup water and stir over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Add this to the infused vodka, taste, and add more simple syrup if you need it sweeter.

When you have reached your perfect ratio and your Lemorancello is ready to enjoy, you can store it in a cleaned 750 ml vodka bottle (there will be more than 1 bottle worth of liqueur) or in pretty oil/vinegar type bottles with hinged or screw sealed tops.

The liqueur can be kept in the freezer for at least a year, and likely much longer. Use your own common sense if it’s been more than a year and it tastes off or you see any mold growing in the bottle.  Then it’s more than likely time to toss it and make a fresh batch!  I have no intention of letting mine last that long.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood