Archive for January, 2019

SALLY’S CHICKEN WITH OLIVES

This recipe is BEYOND delicious! Whether you make it in the oven or in a slow cooker, the chicken will fall off the bone and the flavors will melt in your mouth. A must try for the winter, my new favorite!! I have no idea who Sally is but THANK YOU SALLY!

ingredients

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 pieces skinless chicken pieces (thighs, legs, quartered breasts

1 onion, chopped

4-6 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup wine (red or white or ¼ cup of each)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons oregano

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons capers plus a little juice

½ cup green olives

2 tablespoons brown sugar

directions

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or oven proof skillet. Brown chicken parts 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Add onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Return chicken pieces to the pan.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Bring to boil, remove from heat and bake in the oven for 2 hours.  Serve with brown rice if desired.

NOTE: This recipe can also be made in a slow cooker : Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix together the remaining ingredients; pour over the top of the chicken. Cook on low for approximately 6 to 7 hours.

(Adapted from a recipe found recipe-finder.com)

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HOW CAN WE BE SO SILLY?

We, human beings, are very funny creatures because when we closely examine some of our behavior, it just doesn’t make any sense. Let’s take my least favorite subject: DIETS. I wince when I hear anyone tell me that they’re going on a diet because diets don’t work. Many of us have gone on a diet, lost weight, gone off the diet and gained download.jpgit all back. And in spite of this failure, we still look for another diet, or use the same one as before thinking it will yield a different outcome. We try again. And again. And again.

Diets don’t work because they ask for too much restriction that is too difficult to sustain over time. By definition they have a beginning and an end without enough focus on maintenance. And it’s the maintenance that is most important. If you lose weight quickly and then re-gain the weight, the number on the scale might be the same,  but your body composition could be worse: you might wind up with less lean muscle mass and more fat. Chronic dieting changes our metabolism making it even harder to lose weight. It’s insanity.

Ironically, I do see some value in various diet plans. The key is to know what you think will work for you. Here are a few examples: 1.  If you feel that you do best eating a high fat diet (hopefully focusing on healthy, unsaturated fats), then you can use the keto diet as a guideline. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow it to the letter of the law and put yourself into ketosis, but you can use it as a template.  2. There are a lot of elements of the Whole 30 diet, an eating plan that reduces systemic inflammation, that might make sense for you. 3. Weight Watchers could be a perfect tool to learn about portion control. The point is to use these diets as lifestyle guidelines that you can utilize forever.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of foods that come from the ground. These foods will be filled with lots of color, good nutrition and fiber. Listen to your body, which means understanding what hunger and satiety are. If you need some direction, use diets that make sense to you, as guidelines and tweak them to make them sustainable. This way weight loss can be maintained over the long-term.

 

 

 

 

 

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BEANS WITH FENNEL AND ALMONDS

This is a lovely dish full of different textures and light flavors.  Make this your own by using beans of your choice. If you are a fennel fan, this recipe is for you!  If you’ve never had fennel before, give this a try!

ingredientsBeans-with-Fennel-and-Almonds

1 cup cooked great northern, cannellini, or scarlet runner beans

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, diced

1 tsp. lemon zest

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ cup grated Asiago cheese

¼ cup chopped, lightly toasted almonds

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

2 tbs. chopped mint leaves

directions

In a large bowl, add the cooked beans, fennel, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss until well combined. Add the cheese and toasted almonds and toss again.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and mint. Toss lightly once more and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

(adapted from a recipe found in Experience Life, October, 2018)

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HATE COOKING: BE AN ASSEMBLER

Cooking is one of the most nurturing things that you can do for yourself. It involves planning, preparation, and execution. The end result can be nutritious food along with a great sense of accomplishment. People who love to cook don’t mind the sacrifice, for the reward is great.

But what if you don’t enjoy to cook and even find the food services, such as Blue Apron, passion-not-confession-ecard-someecardsHello Fresh, or Sun Basket to be too much work? For many people, it means ordering in, grabbing food on the go or simply “winging it”. In my experience, this makes healthy eating virtually impossible. However, there is hope. There is a large “grey area” between ordering in, and cooking a full meal: Become an assembler.

An assembler means that you can take some short cuts in order to eat healthier food. While you don’t have to search for recipes and do a lot of chopping,  you do have to do some planning and food shopping. If dinners are challenging for you, here are a few ideas. You will need to have a few items in your fridge/freezer such as salad greens of your choice, an onion, a red pepper, an avocado, brown “ready rice”, frozen chopped spinach, a loaf of whole grain bread (can store in the freezer),  Parmesan cheese, olive oil, eggs, and a few pieces of fruit.

On the way home from work, instead of running into your local pizza place, stop into a supermarket that has a variety of homemade food. You can buy the items above if you don’t have them along with ½ lb of cooked shrimp, a small container of vegetable soup and vegetarian chili. This is enough food for at least 4 dinners:

dinner #1: Make yourself a salad and cut up of a piece of the pepper, a few avocado slices and top it with the cooked shrimp. Drizzle with olive oil.  Have a slice of whole grain toast if desired.

dinner #2: Heat up the soup and make a salad. Make yourself a slice of toast with some avocado slices on top.

dinner #3: Make yourself a veggie omelet with the defrosted frozen spinach. You can add onion and/or pepper to your skillet and sprinkle with Parmesan. Add a green salad with avocado if desired. And/or a slice of toast.

dinner #4: Heat up the vegetarian chili. Microwave the brown ready rice. Serve with a salad if desired. You can have a piece of fruit with any of these meals.

I’m sure you’re getting my point. With a few items in your house, plus a few pre-made super market items, you can assemble healthy dinners without doing major cooking. A rotisserie chicken, for example, can be eaten warm, chopped in a salad, or shredded into vegetable soup. While assembling is not as nutritious as making all of the food from scratch, it is certainly a step in the right direction that will not be as overwhelming.

So, if you can’t seem to get the cooking down, don’t give up–be an assembler in 2019. It will make a huge difference!

 

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