Tag Archives: fiber

Figs. Naughty or Nice?

20 Apr

Figs. Hhhhmmm. What do we know about figs? Well, they are a biblical food, so they have quite a history. A long history. And for as wonderful as they are, they still a little mysterious in this country. I mean, they are grown in California, so they are a native food. We tend to associate them with mediterranean cuisine, which may seem a bit exotic. It’s time to demystify them. Lets learn about figs!

First, we can enjoy figs either dried or fresh. To enjoy them fresh, get them in season generally from May to January. Choose fresh figs that are soft and have a sweet aroma. Dried figs can be enjoyed all year. They can be found in the produce section of your grocer. Start looking for them. They are there…really, they are!

Time to dig into the nutritional value of figs. Figs are high in dietary fiber. (Um…not sure if that falls under “naughty” or “nice”…) With the busy lifestyle of today promoting eating on the run, getting enough fiber can be a challenge. Figs can help meet the recommended adult intake of 25-35 grams of fiber a day. As far as vitamins and minerals go, figs are a good source of b complex vitamins. Great for the immune system. Minerals like copper and iron are also found in figs. Surprised? Wait! That’s not all!

Figs are also a very good source of calcium. It is a fantastic option for folks that can’t get their calcium from dairy. Calcium is an important component of a healthy diet. Figs also have Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Figs are also high in potassium, a mineral important for assisting the body with controlling blood pressure.  This is important for good heart health, so eat up!

Interestingly enough, some folks believe that figs have some medicinal properties. Some say that when applied to pimples, acne or boils, it can improve or even cure them. Also, figs can be used as a skin cleanser. Not sure if these are old wives tales or not, but it is believed that figs soaked in water may cure hemorrhoids. Fig leaves have also been used to reduce the need for insulin in some diabetics. Good stuff, right?

So much for the nice. Let’s move to the naughty side of figs. Figs can be a sensual finger food. Sexy. Fun! Pick up these simple ingredients. Grab your significant other because this will be fun and is meant for two! Here is the recipe to get the naughty started.

6-8 figs (this is a recipe for 2)
Blue cheese
4 slices prosciutto cut in half
olive oil
Split the fig open but don’t cut through. Stuff with blue cheese and push it back together. Wrap 1/2 piece of prosciutto around the fig. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Put under the broiler for 2 minutes. Pull them out, remove the figs from the baking sheet, and place on a plate.

Now grab your honey and find a cozy spot. Light some candles and turn the lights low. Sit close to your honey. Pour a glass of your favorite wine (I recommend a bold red with this dish). Toast each other. Flirt. Giggle. Loosen up and let your naughty come out! Pick up a fig with your fingers and feed your sweetie. Lick your fingers. Enjoy the succulence of this dish and the moment. Figs are nutritious, but can also be sexy. So remember the nice of figs, but also let the naughty out!

 

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Seven Super Spices Wrapup

7 Jan

Okay, we have had fun talking about spices.  The seven super spices we discovered (or rediscovered) are cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ginger, turmeric, sage, and clove.  There has been time to process information about these super spices and start using them.  Adding them to food has so many benefits.  Making foods with spices, such as ginger tea, is also a way to take steps toward better health.  Lets just take a quick peek at the general benefits of using spices.

  • Spices are a concentrated form of antioxidants.  Antioxidants, at the very core, protect cells from damage.  Cells are the building blocks on which we rely for our body to perform at its best.  Antioxidants allow us to build a better wellness foundation from the inside out!
  • Many spices have anti inflammatory properties.  This can allow our bodies to naturally decrease pain from inflammation, such as arthritic pain.
  • Many spices have beneficial fiber-a great way to help cleanse the body.
  • Spices are naturally vitamin and mineral rich in a concentrated form.
  • Some spices can be used to relieve nausea.
  • Many spices are beneficial to the digestive system.  They promote positive gastrointestinal activity.
  • Spices add savory flavors to food, encouraging healthier eating habits.
  • Some spices help regulate blood sugar, a big plus for diabetics.

They are simple to add to your daily diet, and can immediately benefit from their medicinal properties.  It can be as simple as this: Make a dry meat rub by mixing 1 tablespoon each of basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme.  Toss these spices into a bowl, mix them up a bit, and rub them on pork or chicken.  Spritz the meat with a bit of olive oil and bake.  Easy Peasy!

There is our series, and our wrap-up.  Let me know how you are adding spices to your cooking!

Cannelini and Greens

31 Aug

I am a self proclaimed foodie.   I think about food a lot.  I think about how to grow it, how to prepare it, and try to conjure up interesting twists of flavor with what I have on hand.  Although I love the European method of shopping daily to prepare the freshest food, I am not a person that likes to hop in the car and zip out to the store for a missing ingredient when I cook.  Nope…I like to put music on, surround myself with my the folks I love, and get in the kitchen and cook.

That is exactly what I was doing when I created my cannellini dish lately.  I looked at ingredients that I had on hand, craved something different, poured Denis and I a glass of red wine and got to work.  This is what I came up with, and I must say, it was brilliant.  Here is my recipe.

Amy’s Cannellini and Greens

  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 cans cannellini beans-rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups of fresh arugula and spinach
  • 4 slices of prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parmesan cheese

Heat a large pan on medium, and put olive oil in pan.  When hot, add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, and stir.   Let cook for 1 minute.   Add canned tomatoes with juice, thyme, parsley, and sage.  Stir to mix.  Shake in salt and pepper to taste.  Heat until hot and bubbling, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cannellini beans and give the mix a good but gentle stir.  During the last few minutes of cooking, add the prosciutto.  While that is heating through, take a large shallow bowl and line it with the fresh arugula spinach mixture.  Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over it.  Just a sprinkle will do.

Taste bean mixture.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pour hot beans over greens.  The greens will wilt a bit, and the scent coming off this dish is amazing!  Serve.

This dish is quick to put together and a great way to use some leftover greens when you are tired of regular cold salads.  It is a pretty dish, and packed with nutrition.  Cannellini beans are rich in antioxidants, loaded with beneficial fiber, and have plenty of heart healthy b9.   It is a beautiful dish to have on your dinner table, with the added benefit of being very nutritious!  Bon Appetite!

Oh yum!

Oh yum!

Beauty from the inside out!

13 Dec

Wrinkle creams. Facial toner. Skin cleansing systems. Acne wash. Its everywhere! We are constantly barraged by beauty products to make our pores smaller, our skin radiant, and wrinkles disappear when you use them. It’s a miracle!  Really? I say put that beauty cream down. I have something better!

I can state the obvious with saying that fruits and vegetables are good for you because they are packed with vitamins and minerals. They have beneficial fiber, and most of us probably need to eat more of them. We already know that. But surprise! Guess what else they are packed with? Beauty! You see, food contains essential nutrients for good health. But here’s the secret. Food has benefits that don’t fall into a “category”. Fruits and vegetables have lots of health benefits. But they also have benefits that don’t fall into a “nutrient” category. Let me explain.

Have you been to the beach or a northern climate and seen rust on the cars? It is a corrosive reaction. Rust eats away metal through oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen is present. An example of rapid oxidation is something burning. Slow oxidation is rust. As you know, our atmosphere has oxygen, and it comes in contact with our skin. That’s right. You guessed it. The cells in our skin break down, or “oxidize”, leading to wrinkles. Dryness. Spots. How can we fight that?

Back to fruits and vegetables. How do they help keep our skin beautiful? The pigment, or color, in fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties. That’s right. They fight oxidation, so they are fantastic for our skin. Here is my challenge to you. Eat 5 colors a day though your fruits and vegetables, and you will see a lovely change in your skin. Elasticity. Radiance. There are so many health benefits to fruits and vegetables, but making skin prettier is number one in my book.

How do you get 5 colors a day? I have a few suggestions. Fruit and vegetable colors to choose from daily are green, red, blue/purple, yellow, orange, and white. So in 1 day, you can have strawberries, carrots, a salad with lettuces and tomatoes, cauliflower or a pear, and some grapes. There you go. Easy! And when these are out of season, go for the frozen food section. I have frozen berries in my freezer all winter long. I add them to yogurt or a smoothie for a fresh snack.

Get 5 colors a day into your diet and your skin will thank you! Eating more fruits and vegetables has other benefits. As mentioned earlier, increasing these in your diet will increase your fiber, which is a great thing. Most americans do not hit the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber adults need in their diet daily.

Also, fruits and veggies have lots of water. If you are one of the folks that don’t drink enough water, this is a great way to increase your hydration, which is also great for your skin. Proper hydration increases elasticity and tone, so if you don’t drink your water, get it through fruits and vegetables!

Eating 5 colors a day is not only great for you, but it is a wonderful way to introduce new foods to your family. It increases your nutrients and fiber, plus it is a super easy way to begin a healthy habit for both your self and your family that can last a lifetime. Not only is it a fantastic change for any busy moms diet, it is an easy way to think about getting the essential fruits and veggies you need every day.

Adding variety and counting your colors will promote healthy eating for your family in a fun way that is easy to remember. And let’s face it. It is easier to remind your sometimes emotional and moody teen (I used to be one and currently have 3 of them!) what colors to eat instead of telling them to eat more fruits and veggies. Get beautiful from the inside out. Start eating more colors, and you can throw those expensive beauty creams away!