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

Napalm Spicy Chicken Wings

napalmwings

I usually spend half the day to treat my family to my decadent buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese on Super Bowl Sunday.  This year we aren’t particularly interested in the game, so we won’t be having a crowd over and it’s far to much effort (and way too many high fat/high calorie leftovers) to make for just the two of us.

Don’t get me wrong.  We’ll watch the game, but we don’t have a vested cheering interest in the game and Budweiser has opted for a political ad in place of the usual feel-good puppy and Clydesdale buddy commercial, so we won’t be glued to the TV just mindlessly eating for 5 straight hours (hopefully).

That doesn’t mean we won’t be eating something amazing though. 😉

I came across this recipe for chicken wings that claim to be beyond “inferno” hot in, of all places, the December 2015 issue of  Wine Enthusiast Magazine.  The funniest part of the recipe, as written, is that there is nothing in it to make them “Napalm Hot.”  How hot you make them is based entirely on the heat level of the hot sauce you choose to add to the recipe, so the decision is entirely yours.  In my case, to make them scorchingly hot, I will be searching for a sauce that is based on Ghost Peppers or Habañero Peppers.  They will be far too hot for me to eat, but my husband will be more than happy to burn his face off eating them!

Napalm Spicy Chicken Wings

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, patted dry with paper towels
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more to fry
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2–3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for serving
DirectionsPlace the chicken wings in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Preheat an oven to 400˚F. Spread the chicken wings on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Place in the oven and roast until the chicken wings are firm but not fully cooked through, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in honey, hot sauce and lime zest, and let simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a large pot, pour in enough of the vegetable oil to reach 5 inches up the sides. Place over high heat and heat the oil until it registers 375˚F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Working in small batches, fry the wings, turning occasionally, until they are crisp and golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wings from the oil and drain on a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Put the wings in a large bowl and toss with the hot sauce butter. Transfer to a platter and serve hot with additional lime wedges.

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

Creamy Avocado Bomb Sauce

This sauce, found on Pinterest,  could be used on anything from salad, to tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, egg rolls, or just eaten with chips.  The best part is you won’t need to feel guilty, at least about the dip…

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Wash ingredients well, especially the cilantro because it can hold in a lot of dirt.
  2. Cut lime and avocado in halves. 
  3. Remove the avocado seed
  4. Scoop the avocado from its shell in put into Vitamix or food processor.
  5. Add 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 jalapeno, 3 garlic cloves, pinch of salt and 1/2 bunch of cilantro into Vitamix/food processor. 
  6. If you do not like your dip/dressing super spicy, remove seeds of jalapeno beforehand.
  7. If you want it extra spicy, add an entire jalapeno or substitute a habanero or hotter pepper.
  8. Squeeze 1/2 lime into mix. 
  9. Blend for 3 minutes.
  10. Do a taste test. You may need to add more salt, pepper or lime juice, depending on your personal taste. 
  11. If you would like a thinner sauce, if you are using as salad dressing, add just a touch of water to thin out. Start with a tablespoon and thin a bit at a time.
  12. Blend another 1-2 minutes.
  13. Pour into a sealed container, refrigerate until ready 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

Easy Turkey Day Appetizer

mb1One of the things I am in charge of this Thanksgiving is an appetizer.  I was going to get fancy and knock myself out with something that would be difficult to keep warm and wouldn’t likely taste that great cold, but I’ve decided to take another tack.

Instead of going in a direction that is completely opposite of the main meal, I thought instead that I would create something that would compliment and whet the appetites of the rest of the guests for the main event, plus I’d be able to incorporate one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes from last year, Zinful Cran-blueberry Sauce!

Turkey Meatballs with Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Set aside to pour over cooked meatballs.

Make the Meatballs

  • Canola Oil Spray or PAM
  • 4 Pounds Ground Turkey
  • 2 Cups Bread Crumbs or Panko
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 1 Large Granny Smith Apple Grated
  • 1 tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds
  • 8 tsp Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 3 tsp Freshly Ground Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F and spray 2 large baking sheets with non stick spray

  1. Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, grated apple, fennel seeds, chopped sage, salt and pepper on a large mixing bowl
  2. Using a 1″ cookie scoop, portion out the meat into balls, roll and put as many as you can on both baking sheets
  3. Bake for 15 minutes until meatballs begin to brown
  4. Remove meatballs from baking sheet and place into serving dish, chafing dish or crock pot (set to low or warm setting) and pour cran-blueberry sauce over until all are well coated.
  5. Garnish with whole sage leaves if desired.

If you are on Facebook and are 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 have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Disneyland Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week I shared the recipe for Debbie Fields (A.K.A. Mrs. Fields) Peanut Butter Cookies and promised to find the recipe for the amazing Peanut Butter Cookies sold at Disneyland when I could find it.

peanut-butter-chunk-cookiesThere are many imposters and “copycat” recipes out there that were close, but none that I could find that were exactly like the cookies I remembered.  I finally came across a blog that focuses solely on the foods made and sold by the Disney Resorts.  Here I found out that Disney chefs do not bake the cookies, full of chunks of smooth peanut butter, they are made by Selma’s Cookies and packaged for Disney, but they are so good, does it really matter?

A little more Internet research led to a cookie blog linked to the Disney food blog that had great pictures and instructions for recreating the Disneyland Peanut Butter Cookie (with the added bonus of chocolate chunks!).

The important thing to making these cookies is to understand that you cannot simply put peanut butter chips into the cookies and expect them to taste like the cookies from peanut-butter-chunksGoofy’s Kitchen!  You have to take the added step (first) of making the peanut butter fudge that gets broken into chunks and pressed into the rolled cookie dough just before placing on the cookie sheets for baking.  It makes the difference between a good cookie and a great one!

As Close As You Can Get To Disneyland Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Chunks:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBLS Peanut Butter Chips (Reese’s)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBLS Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1+ 1/2 TBLS Butter
Cookie Dough:
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar — (8 oz)
  • 1 cup Granulated Ssugar — (8 oz)
  • 1 + 1/4 cups Chunky or Smooth Peanut Butter — (11 7/8 oz jar)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 + 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
 Instructions
  1. Make the peanut butter chunks first. Mix the peanut butter chips, peanut butter and butter in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. If chips aren’t melted, heat for another 30 seconds.
  2. Make a small 2×5(ish) mold with foil (see photo). Pour the peanut butter mixture into the mold and chill it for about half an hour or until firm. Unmold the peanut butter log and cut into chunks.
  3. Proceed with the cookie dough. Cream butter and both sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in peanut butter, then baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, beating on a lower speed, then beat in vanilla. By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, Stir in the flour. When flour is mixed in, stir in chocolate chunks.
  4. Chill the dough for about an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F. Using slightly less than a quarter cup measure, scoop up balls of dough and arrange on cookie sheet a few inches apart. Stick peanut butter chunkscookie-dough-ball into the already-scooped dough.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until set and brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on pan for about 10 minutes to set. Remove from pan and set on a rack to finish cooling.
  7. Makes 24 big cookies

I cannot wait to make these!  Can you imagine taking two of these and putting a scoop of vanilla ice cream between them?  Yum!

If you are on Facebook and are 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 have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Cookies

pbcookieI love peanut butter cookies, something about them feels more special than a chocolate chip cookie.  Just like a sugar cookie tells me it’s Christmas, peanut butter cookies feel like a cold winter night with a warm cup of cocoa.  My mom wasn’t big on cooking dinner, but she did bake.  Cookies were easy, and peanut butter cookies were my dad’s favorite, so they were one that she made once in a while.

I’m not in bakeries often, but when I do get enticed by their heavenly smell and break down and buy them, I’m usually disappointed.  I’m impatient and can never wait to get home, I rarely even make it to the car, before I’m unfolding that waxed bakery bag and taking a big bite of salty peanut butter goodness.  More often than not, they are either too dry, too doughy or too greasy and leave me sorry that I bought them.

There have been very few exceptions, but among my favorite peanut butter cookies are: Mrs. Fields, French’s Bakery (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Orange, CA), and Disneyland.

Lucky for all of us, Debbie Fields shared her recipe for her peanut butter cookies on her blog in 2012.  A bonus for the Gluten-Free crowd, there is no flour in it!

Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Cookies

mfpbcookies1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
coarse salt or sugar, your choice

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and sugar. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add vanilla directly to it and stir. Add egg mixture to peanut butter mixture and stir until well combined. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Using the tines of a fork, create a crosshatch pattern, flattening the dough about half the thickness. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a pinch of coarse salt or sugar, depending on your tastes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until barely golden brown around the edges. Makes 30 cookies

HINT:  A good-quality, natural peanut butter adds even richer flavor, but  you may need to add more sugar. Taste dough to determine.

HINT:  Kick these cookies up another notch by dipping cooled cookies in melted semi-sweet chocolate. Allow to cool completely before serving.

I never realized that there was no flour in these, which makes them gluten-free, but also explains why they never taste dry or doughy to me.

Next I’ll see if I can hunt down recipes for my other favorites so I can do an unscientific side by side taste test with my family to see which ones they prefer.

If you are on Facebook and are 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 have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Sunday Family Dinner

family_dinner_tableWhen I was a kid, we saw my mom’s parents all the time.  They lived just a few miles away so we often saw them during the week when they came to our various games.  On those nights, because Grandma always seemed to be on some new diet, Grandpa was excited to eat whatever junk food was being served at the snack bar, but at least twice a month, my grandparents would come to our house for a proper Sunday dinner.

My Mom didn’t have a big cooking repertoire, so dinner would be one of a four things:

  1. Roast on her counter top Farberware rotisserie;
  2. Flank or Top Sirloin Steak marinated with an envelope of Lawry’s tenderizing marinade for beef then grilled on the BBQ;
  3. Spaghetti.  Her Bolognese was one of the few things she made from scratch and my Grandpa Bob loved it; or
  4. Meatloaf.  Another basic meal that, inexplicably,  my grandparents loved coming over for.

Unless we were having spaghetti, we always had some version of the same side dishes:

  • Green salad tossed in Bob’s Bleu Cheese or Thousand Island Dressing bobsbcdressingbobs1000dressing
  • Some type of boxed potato she could throw in the oven
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Peas, Broccoli with cheese sauce, or corn

I wasn’t kidding, cooking was not her thing.

If she was making dessert it was one of a very few things:

  • Basking Robbins Ice Cream
  • Frosted Cake
  • Cookies
  • Cherry Surprise

You may be asking yourself, what in the world is Cherry Surprise?  It was Mom’s go-to, minimal effort, no-bake, bring to any occasion dessert:

  • 2 Angel Food Loaf Cakes or 1 Angel Food Round Cake
  • 1 Large Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 2 Cans Comstock Cherry Pie Filling
  • Reddy-Whip Canned Whipped Cream or a Tub of Cool Whip Thawed

Assembly Directions

  1. Tear the angel food cake into small chunks and put the pieces into a 9″ x 12″ Pyrexafcake baking dish
  2. In a medium bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) combine the milk, sour cream, and pudding.  Mix on low until combined then switch to high and mix another 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until pudding is thick and fluffy.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, spread all of the pudding mixture over the cake layerpudding-layer.  Tap the baking dish against the counter to help the pudding settle into pockets between the pieces of cake.
  4. Pour the contents of both cans of cherry pie filling over the top of the pudding layer, spreading to evenly distribute the cherries
  5. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  6. Scoop portions onto plate and top with whipped creamcherry-delight

Simple, but always a crowd pleaser.

I try and do Sunday dinner but tonight didn’t even live up to Mom’s limited menus, I ordered pizza.  To be fair, we did eat it together as a family while watching Sunday night football. 😉

I’ll do better tomorrow.

If you are on Facebook and are 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 have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood