Archive for December, 2016

SPICY BLACK-EYED PEAS

Every year, at this time, I post a black-eyed pea recipe because they supposedly bring prosperity for the New Year. They also happen to be DELICIOUS so enjoy! HAPPY 2017!

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4 slices bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed*see note below

1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups water

directions

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. Sauté the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add additional water, if necessary. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon.

*NOTE: Black-eyed peas need to be soaked overnight. Alternatively, you can “quick-soak” the peas by bringing them and the water to a boil for 2 minutes. After this, remove them from the heat, cover the pot and soak the peas for 1 hour. Then, drain and rinse the peas.

 (Adapted from a recipe found on foodnetwork.com)

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CUBAN-STYLE CHICKEN STEW (FRICASÉ DE POLLO)

I usually steer clear of recipes with very long ingredient lists but this Cuban stew looked interesting.  It’s amazing how all of the components work beautifully!  It is a fabulous dish that will warm your bones in this cold weather!!

ingredientscubanstylechickenstew_2000x1500

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup fresh orange juice

3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

1 (3 1⁄2–4-lb.) chicken, quartered

2 T  olive oil

1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

1 cup dry white wine

1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces

½ cup cup jarred alcaparrado or 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives and 2 T capers

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

a small bunch of cilantro, chopped

directions

Toss lime and orange juices, garlic, chicken, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.

Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; pat dry using paper towels and reserve marinade. Working in batches, cook chicken, flipping once, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add bell pepper and onion to pan; cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add wine; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, 5–7 minutes. Return chicken to pan and add reserved marinade, potatoes, alcaparrado, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and 1⁄2 cup water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until chicken and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in peas before serving. Sprinkle with cilantro.

(Adapted from a recipe found on http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Chicken-Stews)

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JUST DO IT! 😉

I hope you noticed the winking emoji next to the title because I’m not talking about imgres.jpgexercise, here, I’m talking about……..um……..yes……..SEX. It turns out, that sex is actually good for us! Unfortunately, as we get older, sex winds up  in the same category as exercise: We really aren’t thrilled about the idea, yet once we do it, we’re really glad that we did.

Web Md lists 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex and here they are:

  1. Keeps Your Immune System Humming
  2. Boots Your Libido
  3. Improves Women’s Bladder Control
  4. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
  5. Counts as Exercise
  6. Lowers Heart Attack Risk
  7. Lessens Pain
  8. May Make Prostate Cancer Less Likely
  9. Improves Sleep
  10. Eases stress

For the full explanation see http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health. It’s a great list, although I think they’re pushing it a bit with #5! Still, moving counts as something so this holiday season, get busy and have fun!

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RED LENTIL SOUP WITH LEMON

Here is another wonderful recipe from the NY Times–great for this time of year and the plummeting temperatures! 

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2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 cup red lentils

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

directions

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

(Adapted from a recipe found in cooking.nytimes.com)

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CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI STIR FRY

Stir fry anyone? Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list because this is a  simple dish to make. A great LIGHT dish during the holiday season!

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1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed

3 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced on an angle

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 -inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

About 1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 to 6 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)

½-¾ t chili flakes, optional

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Garnish: toasted sesame seeds, optional

directions

In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, the sherry, and the sesame oil. Sprinkle with salt.  Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Get the skillet or wok good and hot again, and then heat 1 more tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes. Stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates and garnish with sesame seeds; serve with brown rice.

(Adapted from a recipe found on.foodnetwork.com)

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DECEMBER IS THE NEW JANUARY

Well, December is here which means holiday music everywhere, crowded malls, more traffic and yes, weight gain. This is the season to pack on the pounds. We swiftly adopt the “to-hell-with-it-I-will-deal-with-this-in-January” attitude. The problem is, when we set our January goals, we often lose our resolve somewhere in mid-February.  Those extra pounds stick around and perhaps there are a few left from the previous season(s).

Isn’t it funny how we create calendar rules for ourselves? We “let loose” in December,  and try to REALLY fix it in January. (And start on a Monday, of course).

December doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, I am working with a few clients now who are actually losing weight in December. Sure, it might be more challenging at times, but with a little planning and thinking ahead, you will be fine:

Going to a party? Bring something healthy: Make a giant salad or a vegetable dish that you honeycrisp-apple-cranberry-pecan-blue-cheese-mixed-greens-salad-thanksgiving-christmas-recipe-by-five-heart-home_700pxhorizlike. Not only will you have something healthy to eat, your own dish could act as reminder to stay on track.

Don’t skip meals to save calories for later: Skipping meals, in an attempt to save some calories, never works. Once you get too hungry you will most likely overeat and do way more damage. In fact, I recommend just the opposite—never go to an event too hungry.

Watch the alcohol: Don’t give me that look—I didn’t say NO alcohol, I’m suggesting to simply watch the quantity. I’m not as concerned with the calories in alcohol as  I am about the eating behavior that accompanies the alcohol. (Doesn’t cheese taste so much better with wine vs. water?)

Have buffet rules: If you’re at a party that has a buffet, set a one-trip rule. Load your plate up ONCE with as much healthy food that you can find.  Eat as slowly as you can to make that last.

Plate size matters: If you are hosting a party, use smaller dinner plates. Studies show that using them will make you eat less. (Your guests will love you for it!)

Plan a treat: Don’t deny yourself everything. See what goodies are at the party and decide, ahead of time, what you’d like to have and enjoy it.

Changing your attitude about December might make a huge difference. If you do, January will be a breeze!

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