Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick and Easy Baked Polenta/Zucchini Italiano

I Love this recipe! It takes about 15 minutes to prepare (if that) and about 30  to bake. Vegan's can omit the cheese, but it doesn't taste the same without it.

Ingredients:
1-18 ounce pre-cooked, packaged organic polenta, sliced into 1" rounds
1-26 ounce jar marinara sauce
4- 6 zucchini squash, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
3 whole tomatoes sliced thin-12 to 13 slices
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese
fresh or dried basil


Method:
Line a glass rectangular baking dish with 1/2 jar of tomato sauce
Layer zucchini squash on top of sauce
Pour the remaining sauce over zucchini
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Place the polenta on top of sauce
Top the polenta with the sliced tomatoes
Top tomatoes with fresh or dried basil and remaining parmesan cheese


Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and zucchini is soft.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Capresse Salad with Fresh Basil and Balsamic Vinaigrette


This is the Easiest and Most Beautiful Salad ! I made it for my Mother's 87th Birthday Celebration. It takes a bit of prep time.

Ingredients:
6 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
1 pound buffala mozzarella cheese, Sliced or Set in Center of Platter whole 
1 bunch fresh basil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1 head washed leaf lettuce

Method:
Line a Large Platter with Leaf Lettuce or fig leaves
Slice tomatoes
Place Basil Leaves on top of Tomatoes
Sprinkle with Vinaigrette and Salt and Pepper
Let marinate for 30 minutes
Enjoy :)

Leg Day!

Most of the people I know @ The Gym Absolutely abhor leg day. I have very mixed feelings since my legs have been my nemesis pretty much most of my life. I look forward to changing up the routine every day just to keep things interesting.

30 minutes on the Elliptical Interval Training-Burn 360 Calories
10 minute full body stretch
Bosu-Balance: Full Body Workout-3 Sets of 20 Reps Each Exercise
Standing Squats, Standing Lunges, Kneeling on 1 knee Kick Backs, Round Side Down Push-ups
Machine Hamstring Curls 2 Sets of 15 Reps
Dead lifts with 25 Pound Bar 3 Sets of 25 Reps
Back Extensions-2 Sets of 20 Reps
Squats in Place-No Weight 2 Sets of 25
Walking Lunges-25 paces and run back to start
Lunges in Place-No Weight 2 Sets of 20 Reps Each Leg
Doogie Lifts on Bench
20 Minutes on Treadmill-Interval Train Burn 140 Calories
Ab Routine:
Standing Leg Lifts-2 Sets of 20 Reps-Knee Bent (Thank you very much)
Reverse Crunches-Leg Lifts on slant-1 Set of 20
More Reverse Lunges on Mat holding on to a bar 1 Set of 25
Regular Crunches-2 sets of 25
Reach-ups to opposite toe-2 Sets of 20 Each
*New One* (For me anyway)-Lie on back Stretch out right leg off the ground, Bend left knee and put toe under right leg for support. Right Hand behind your head and reach to your Left knee keeping your back pushed into the mat engaging your abs. It is like a more intense, one sided bicycle kick. Do it slowly for a great challenge. It works on the Love Handles too! I did 1 Set of 15 Reps each side
Stretch More on Mat
DONE!
During the Workout I consumed 32 Ounces of water and a small apple and immediately after I had a protein bar right away because I was STARVING!- this is called a catabolic state in scientific terms. Do not let yourself get that way because it can get dangerous if your blood sugar gets too low. Keep a snack handy such as a clif bar or a small apple.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Artichoke Stuffed Zucchini Boats on a bed of Balsamic Infused Spaghetti Squash


When the pantry is getting low, I come up with creative ways to use the ingredients I have on hand. The trick is to have a varied shopping list and ALWAYS have fresh veggies on hand. This recipe requires some prep time, so give yourself ample time to have it ready for dinner. It is Not quick and easy and my kitchen was a mess after making this one, so plan out cleaning as you go.

Preheat oven to 375

Ingredients:
1 whole spaghetti squash
4 large zucchini squash 
1/2 purple onion, diced
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper,chopped
herbs of choice~ basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, sage or dill are great choices
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauce for Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
1.5 cups organic, no sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 brown onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:
Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds and place face down on seasoned cookie sheet
Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and Squash peels off inside and looks like noodles. They will have a crunchy texture
While the squash is baking, prepare the zucchini by slicing lengthwise then in half. Scoop out the insides of the zucchini with a grapefruit spoon, chop up and place in a large bowl. Line Up zucchini on an oiled baking sheet as shown below
Chop up artichoke hearts and place in bowl with zucchini
Saute onions, garlic and peppers until tender
Add the zucchini and artichoke mixture.
Season to taste with Fresh or dried Herbs of choice. There are salt free herb and spice mixtures that work great too.
Fill up Zucchini (Boats) with the mixture, Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and top is Golden. (I also toasted a piece of whole grain bread and grated some on top for browning)
Scoop out Spaghetti Squash and add a small amount of Olive Oil while preparing sauce
To Prepare Sauce for Spaghetti Squash:
Pour 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth into a well heated pan
Add chopped onion and saute for about 10 minutes. Add herbs of choice, Salt and Pepper. Salt is Always optional.
Cook uncovered to reduce
Add  2T  balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer and reduce to a thicker sauce.
Pour on top of spaghetti squash and toss with tongs with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Place in a large serving dish and keep warm. I kept mine in my iron skillet
Place Stuffed Zucchini on top of Spaghetti Squash and Serve




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

OrganicPumpkin Bread

I made this very moist and delicious Pumpkin Bread using only 1 tsp of Coconut Oil the (glass) pan. Sometimes I use butter but I try to limit my intake of saturated animal fats. I now use oils such as organic, virgin coconut oil or extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil. I also use Organic Earth Balance when cooking baked goods for people who are watching their cholesterol intake. 
Also, for gluten free baking, I prefer almond flour to coconut flour because of the taste and consistency. I made some today using 1 tsp of coconut oil to grease the pan and I sprinkled another tsp on top before baking and a drizzle of raw honey
Preheat oven to 350
Grease Glass Loaf Pan with 1 Tsp. Coconut Oil

Ingredients:
2 Tsp Coconut oil,Divided
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Flax Seed Meal
1 Cup (15oz.can) Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Organic Applesauce
3 Egg Whites 
1/3 Cup Organic Sugar
1/4 t Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ginger
1/4 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Sprinkle of raw honey on top

Method:
-Mix together Flour, Salt, Baking Soda, Flax Seed Meal and set aside
-Whisk together Pumpkin, Organic Sugar, Applesauce, Egg Whites and Spices
-Add Dry ingredients to Pumpkin mixture to combine. Do not over mix
-Pour into Greased Glass Loaf Pan. Sprinkle with a Tsp of Coconut Oil and Raw Honey before baking
-Bake for 1 hour..maybe longer until center is firm. Do not over bake.
-Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then on a rack until cooled.
-Enjoy by itself, with whipped lite cream cheese or today I had some with peanut butter and honey on it...That was a TREAT!

Serving Size...could be Dangerous! lol Cut into 8-10 slices-Portion Control Rules!
I don't do the nutrition facts over here...All I know is that this recipe is so moist, low fat, delicious and Organic...what could be better than that? Sorry....Not Low Carb...LOL







Sunday, October 2, 2011

LOW FAT BANANA OATMEAL BREAD

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Grease Glass Loaf Pan with 1 Tsp Earth Balance margarine or Butter
Ingredients:
1 C Whole Wheat flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
2 Egg Whites (1/3 Cup)
1/2 Cup Organic Applesauce (or a small container from a 4 pack)
5-6 very Ripe Bananas, Mashed
1/2 Cup Organic Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Old Fashioned Organic Oats 
Topping:
Mix together with clean Hands
1 Tsp Earth Balance Margarine or Butter
1 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Honey Squirted over the top when coming out of the oven (Optional)

Method:
Sift Together: Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Protein Powder
Set Aside 
Whisk Together: Egg Whites, Applesauce, Mashed Bananas and Sugar
Add Flour mixture to egg mixture and stir. 
Fold in Oats
Pour into prepared loaf pan
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (maybe longer. this is a very moist bread)
Cool in pan for 10 minutes 
Loosen sides of bread from pan and place on a wire rack 
Cool Completely before slicing
Slice with a Serrated Knife
May be served with All Fruit Preserves or low fat cream cheese if desired. I love it all by itself :)
 
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spicy Chicken Gumbo

Gumbo is a soup or Stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th Century. It is made from a strong flavored stock with either meat or shellfish, a thickener, onion, celery and bell pepper. The name, Gumbo is derived from  two different sources. The Bantu (African) word for okra is Kingambo and the Choctaw (Native American) word for File (Fee-lay) (thickening powder). Gumbo is categorized by the type of thickener used, therefore okra is the African method of thickening, File powder is the Choctaw method and also, there is roux (a mixture of butter and flour) which is the French influence in Louisiana cuisine I have researched many recipes as I usually do to see how I can use them for my healthier version. Most of the modern recipes for Gumbo calls for andouille sausage. Classic andouille sausage is made from pork chitterlings (intestine of a pig) and tripe (the stomach of a cow). The gourmet Chefs call for 5 pounds of pork and 2 pounds of pork fat for their Gumbo recipes.I have changed my eating habits so much and I really do think you are what you eat. I cannot fathom eating Andouille Sausage, but if I ever make it to Louisiana, I surely will eat a "Classic Gumbo". I just know better now and to have just a small portion at best..and perhaps ask the chef what the ingredients are. I tried a soy chorizo a few months ago and it was so good (and I know most people would say yuck to this), it immediately came to mind for this Gumbo recipe. It is made from: textured soy protein, water, soy oil, distilled vinegar, salt, spices, red pepper and garlic, a 3oz serving has 140 calories, 10 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 700mg sodium, 8g carbs, 9g protein, 4g fiber. *It's high in fat (in my standards) and sodium, so use sparingly.* Vegans and Vegetarians, just leave out the chicken and add a little more Chorizo and you are set. I am looking at a photo of Shrimp Gumbo right now and that looks amazing. I would use jumbo shrimp for the recipe.I have decided to use okra since I found some fresh and will also use the roux method of thickening this Gumbo.
8-10 Servings
Ingredients:
3 T Extra virgin Olive oil, divided
2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Diced
Salt & Pepper To Taste
1 Tsp. Sage, Crumbled
1/2 Tsp Thyme, Crumbled
1 Tsp Marjoram Crumbled
1 Pound Soy Chorizo, remove casing and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Quart Low Sodium (Strong) Chicken or Vegetable Stock 
4 Ribs Celery, Chopped
2 Green Bell Peppers, Diced
 1 Large Onion, Chopped
2 Bay Leaves
 2 T Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3 Cups Chopped Fresh Okra
2 Pounds Peeled and Seeded Roma Tomatoes, Chopped
3 T Fresh Chopped Thyme
8 Scallions, sliced thin on an angle
2 1/2 Cups Brown Rice, Cooked
Fresh Parsley, Coarsely Chopped
Method
Preheat large Dutch Oven (heavy bottomed pot)over medium high heat. Brown the chicken with 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper and spices. Add the soy chorizo to the chicken mixture and brown for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and drain. In the same pan, add 1T olive oil and heat. Add celery, pepper, onions and bay leaves. Season with salt (optional), pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes to soften vegetables. Add Flour and cook for 2 minutes. slowly stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add okra, chicken and chorizo to the boiling broth. Then stir in tomatoes and 1/2 of the fresh thyme. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. simmer for 5 minutes. Scoop brown rice into bowls and serve with chopped thyme and scallions to garnish.
 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Best Ever Low Fat Banana Muffins

Cleaning out the cupboards today and found lots of sugar from last Holiday Season~~I love to bake and this year I found out how through experimentation that sugar is my nemesis. I absolutely do not believe in Artificial Sweeteners though and I am researching Stevia to see if it's alright because it is in my Whey Protein Powder. In my opinion, I would rather have good old sugar, organic, in the raw (4 Grams per Tsp) and in moderation.  I also Love Honey, but it is so high in sugar (16 grams per Tablespoon) that it is a treat to splodge it on my spoonful of Almond Butter and it helps with those hunger slumps that I sometimes fall into. This Recipe can be altered by adding nuts to the mix. This will add fat as well, even if it is the "good fat". When I am trying to maintain, even "good fat" is minimal on my plate. A "secret" to baking healthier is to replace whole eggs with egg whites and replace oils or fats with applesauce. This Culinary Rule applies to packaged mixes too. Try it for those Brownies and see if the family notices the difference! These Muffins are very moist. Sifting the dry ingredients and lower heat in the oven helps keep them that way. These would be good with  low fat whipped cream cheese!

Yields 2 Dozen Medium Muffins-Can't just eat one, So Serving Size is 2 :)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 2 (12 cup) Muffin Tins with a little bit of Earth Balance Margarine

 Ingredients:
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (Use Gluten Free Flour if desired)
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

5-6 small very ripe Bananas 
1 Cup Organic Sugar
1 Cup Organic Applesauce
1/3 Cup (2) Egg Whites
Topping:
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar, softened
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Margarine
Method:
~Mix topping together with clean hands and set aside
~Sift dry ingredients and set aside
~Mash Bananas and add Sugar, mix lightly
~Add Egg whites and Applesauce to Banana Mixture and mix lightly to incorporate
~Slowly Add Dry Ingredients to Banana Mixture until mixed thoroughly, rest for a minute
~Drink a glass of Lemon Water~~
~Fill muffin tins evenly  
~Top with Topping
~Bake on Top level of oven for 17-20 Minutes, turning tins around 1/2 way through baking
~Cool on Racks for 2 minutes and transfer to a large platter 
~ Yummiest When eaten warm
~ BEWARE: High In Sugar...Eat Responsibly!!!!! I AM NOT KIDDING!







Monday, September 5, 2011

Delightful Bean, Rice and Veggie Salad

I absolutely LOVE to whip up a recipe with the ingredients I already have in the house. I also often wish I had the ingredients in the food kitchens on food network! I call my dishes, "Something from Nothing" most of the time and thankfully most of the time, they turn out delicious. I look at cooking as an Art form and a Science and I have trained myself to use a plenitude of color in my kitchen works of art. (LOL) Here is a recipe for a meatless, high fiber and a complete protein main course or side dish. It would be lovely as a filling for Boston Lettuce wraps or on top of a bed of Wild Arugula. The ingredients are not set in stone. You may use any beans or veggies that you have in the house and you could switch the Brown Rice with Quinoa if you like. I love the addition of fresh Spearmint along with Italian Parsley and Basil. Dried Herbs may be used too. Dill is very flavorful and I use a seasoning blend that is sodium free as well.
This Recipe Serves about 12 Side dishes:
Mix Together with clean hands in a Huge Bowl:
2 C Cooked (and cooled) Brown Rice, Seasoned with a touch of Olive oil and dry seasonings
1 Can Each Rinsed and drained: Black Beans, Kidney Beans and Pinto Beans
2 Medium Zucchini, Washed, Dried and cut into 1" cubes
2 Cups Chopped Baby Carrots
1 Cup Chopped Celerey
1/2 Large Purple Onion, Chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced
1 cup each Fresh Basil, Parsley and Spearmint, Chopped
1 C Vinaigrette:
    1 Tsp Dijon Mustard, 1/2 Cup Balsamic, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
   Place the mustard in a small glass measuring cup. Add S/P to taste. Stir in Vinegar until mustard is dissolved.
   Add the oil and stir constantly until mixture is blended
Thanks for the compliment, Joanne! We have some here to have for a mid-day meal :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How I Went on Vacation and Lost 3 Pounds

If you are my friend on my "Long Distance Fitness" Facebook Page, you saw that I recently took a trip to San Francisco. I also took photos of the "equipment" I took with me that fit into a small duffel bag and weighed only 7 pounds! This included 2 outfits with jackets, sneakers, A Resistance Band (Red), my i-pod shuffle, socks & undies and a foam roller.  I Love San Francisco! My Mom lives in an area of the city with very steep hills..so there's my cardio workout. I walked the hills 3 days out of 5 and did my Resistance Band Workout on the roof of my Brother's Building (he lives upstairs from Mom) that has the most overwhelming view of the city! This was a treat for me. You see, I have changed my life forever and I have proven it to myself and my friends and my family. I am happiest when I am active and am eating a healthy diet. Now comes the food part of my lovely vacation with my beautiful Mother! My first meal was Spaghetti and 2 large meatballs~It was delicious and very typical of my Mom to make my favorite food as a child :)We ate a lot of Italian Food growing up as my Maiden name, DeMattia makes me 1/2 Italian. My Mom learned how to cook Italian from my Grandma in Brooklyn, NY way back in 1945. I learned how to cook when I was 10, wanted to when I was 8, but my Mom wanted to make me wait for some reason..??? I have a passion for cooking and have changed how I cook, which changed my life and the life of my family. The next 3 nights we went out fine dining in the best city for restaurants..maybe in the world! There are over 4,000 restaurants in San Francisco and it is the coldest city in America in the Summer! Zuni Cafe on Market is always a hit. They make the most delicious Brined Chicken on a bed of Bread Salad..So here we are talking salty and carbolicious :) I had a (fake) Beer that was so yummy and a real Caesar Salad with anchovies..to die for. Portion Control is the key to a meal like this..we had leftovers for 2 days :) The Second night we went to "Foreign Cinema"-on Mission St. Very unusual and gigantic restaurant that shows Foreign Movies on a huge White Wall. I had the Opah (fish) with veggies and I ate bread and butter and we shared an appetizer of Baked Brie with Crostini that was to die for again! I also had another one of those non-alcoholic Beers-imported and delicious.Key:1 Beer and then Water and no dessert! Lovely Restaurant with a very cute waiter! lol. The third night we went with two fellas to "the Hungry Dog"-Chinese Fusion...Amazing Food and I will not list it because I am so hungry right now and it is after hours in my house for food :) they Made me have a bite of dessert! YUMMY!  I managed to lose 3 pounds..hmmm.I think it was the portion control and the walking of the hills and maybe I lost a little muscle mass...I must maintain the loss, because I feel really good...and proud!

Friday, August 12, 2011

High Fiber=Happy Disposition :)

To make this article interesting is challenging for me, so I will start off by stating, having a high fiber diet has saved my life! Quick and easy. There are 2 types of fiber. Insoluble Fiber and Soluble Fiber. The sum of these 2 fibers is Total dietary Fiber that we now see on many labels in the market. Insoluble Fiber moves bulk through the intestines and controls the balance of the acidity in the intestines which prevents constipation, removes toxic waste through the colon quicker, helps prevent colon cancer by preventing microbes from producing cancerous substances. Some food sources for Insoluble Fiber are dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, fruit skins and root vegetable, whole wheat products, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds and nuts (in moderation).
Soluble Fiber binds with fatty acids and prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly. Soluble Fiber lowers total and LDL (the bad) cholesterol and regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes. Some Food Sources of soluble fiber are Oat/Oat Bran, Dried peas and beans, Nuts, Barley, Flax Seed, Fruits such as Apples and Oranges, Vegetables such as carrots and also psyllium Husk.
Back to Fiber changing my life.  May 24th, 2010,  I landed in the hospital for 3 days with Diverticulitis. That was a horrible experience which re occurred the following November. Luckily I did not have to go to the hospital the second time because I had the medicine in my fridge. The first time I was convinced I was sick from eating too many nuts and seeds, esp Blackberry seeds which I wasn't chewing so they wouldn't get stuck in my teeth.. That in combination with dehydration punched a pin hole in my colon.. All of that could have been avoided if the Dr. had told me after my colonoscopy that I had Diverticulosis and to avoid certain foods. While healing all I could eat was, non-fiber "White" foods, Bread, Rice, Chicken Breast and yogurt. After 10 days of healing a high fiber diet was instructed by the Dr. 30 grams a day is the goal. It is not hard to do and it all starts at the supermarket. I have to be careful of what I eat now and truthfully eating a high fiber diet makes me feel so much better! I look at Total Dietary Fiber on labels. Here is a list of Foods that are High in Fiber: By the way...there is no fiber in Meat, White Bread or yogurt! The serving size for most is 1 cup and there is more fiber content in cooked veggies and fruits than in raw, go figure.
Vegetables: Peas, Acorn Squash, Pumpkin, Collard GreensCarrots, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cabbage, Green Beans, Corn, Spinach. Fruits: Pears, Apples, Avocado, Rasperries, Blackberries, Prunes, Banana, Oranges, Blueberries, Peach Kiwi, Strawberries. (Just because I cannot eat berries, that doesn't mean you can't)!
Beans are very high in fiber, Example: 1 cup of Navy Beans, cooked has 19 grams. Most other beans such as Black Beans, Pinto and Garbanzo beans all have 15 grams of fiber per cooked cup. However there are side affects such as bloating and gas. I heard a trick to deal with that is to put a little baking soda in the pot while cooking. Whole grains are not so high in fiber. I make sure to purchase high fiber bread that has at least 5 grams per slice. Amaranth is an ancient grian of the Aztecs and it has a whopping 9 grams per 1/2 cup cooked and it has 14 grams of protein! I will experiment with it soon and I think it may be gluten free too. If you want to get something in the freezer section, Amy's Organic Chili has 15 grams of fiber per serving. It is sold at Whole Foods and Ralph's, here in LA. And for a snack, try a Larabar. It has 5 grams of fiber per bar. It all adds up! Hoping you like this information. I love researching and this subject gets me right in the gut, so it is very important to me :) Look up Fiber Up Food Finder on Google. It's fun and it even gives you a shopping list!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Believe in Vitamins and Supplements

When I forget to take my vitamin supplements which is not often, my body (and sometimes my spirit) feel depleted of energy. Maybe it is because I work out rather intensely or perhaps as we age, our body chemistry changes and we need to supplement or "healthy" diets with extra vitamins to continue with an active lifestyle with less concern of injury or joint pain. At age 54, I have entered that limbo stage of the menopausal timetable. I often say that menopause is like suffering with PMS on a constant level. Oh boy, sorry, honey, I know you forgive me! This is because the hormones in our body are depleting rapidly which in turn wreaks havoc with our emotions, our digestive systems, our skin and our overall outlook on life. I try very hard to combat all of these symptoms with a clean diet, plenty of exercise, plenty of water and  a lot of deep breathing. I do not want to take hormones, artificial or bio-identical for the risks they pose. So I am experimenting a bit with supplements to curb the endless hot flashing that I suffer with mostly at night that causes me to have  very interrupted sleep patterns that leave me exhausted in the morning. So the first "supplement" of the day is a good hot cup of black, french pressed coffee. I know this is not good for menopause, but one or 2 cups gets things moving, especially the digestive system. That along with a high fiber breakfast with protein and my vitamins I am ready to go to the gym or garden or take my dog for a walk and now I am preparing to work full time as a cook @ my gym! Staying active is key to a healthy lifestyle along with a clean diet and vitamin supplements. Here is what I take daily: 2 Scoops Protein Powder-one in my oatmeal or cereal and one in my post workout shake, a "Women's" Multivitamin with Mineral, 1000 mg Calcium with Magnesium and Vitamin D (for Bone health), 1500 Mg Glucosamine with 1200 Mg Chondroitin (For Joint Health), 1000mg Wild Salmon Oil (Omega 3-fatty acids), and 500 mcg Vitamin b12 tablets. I have also started taking Probiotics for digestive health since acquiring diverticulitis. I try very hard to drink 12 glasses of water a day. It has been a year and a half since my first bout of diverticulitis that landed me in the hospital. It occurred again last November and water is key to my recovery and good health and my vitamin supplements are essential to my crazy energy level at the gym and now in the kitchen :) There are so many more supplements out there, however...if we eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and high fiber, there may not be a great need to supplement. When feeling under the weather, I grab the "Wellness Formula" and it seems to nip it..but sometimes not, especially when under stressful situations. It is all how you deal with your stress..A good old fashioned cry cleanses your soul...but deep breathing, stretching a great cardio workout and vitamins will get you through the most challenging days!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pineapple Cranberry Upside Down French Toast

I have inherited a wonderful Iron  skillet from a dear friend's Mom and have cooked up some great dishes in it for the past year and a half and I came up with this recipe which I have refined since making it this morning. I used frozen pineapple tidbits and I think it made the mixture too watery. the next time I make this dish, I with either use fresh pineapple which is always available in the stores here or I would use the canned pineapple packed in water either the chunks or rings will do and drain them to get most of the moisture released.
Ingredients:
1 tsp Earth Balance Margarine, Butter or coconut oil which I am finding very useful..High in fat, be careful
1/2 Pineapple, cored and sliced into rings or 1 can packed in water
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
4 Slices day old or Toasted High Fiber or Ezekiel Bread
1.5 C Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2+1/2 tsps .Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 T Honey
2 T Brown Sugar
1/4 C Toasted, Chopped Walnuts (optional)
Method:
Whisk Together Egg Whites, Vanilla, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, Ginger and cream. Set aside
Layer in skillet: Pineapple, sprinkle cranberries and bread-Cut bread to fit all cracks.
Pour egg mixture over fruit and bread mixture and press down on bread to absorb liquid.
Cover and refriderate overnight.
Preheat Oven to 350

Drizzle 1 T Honey and 1/2 tsp cinnamon on top of bread and bake for 30 minutes
Cool for about 5 minutes and convert onto ovenproof plate.
Drizzle 1 T of honey and 2 T  Brown Sugar  over pineapple (add nuts at this time if desired)
Bake at 475 for 10 minutes or until browned
Serve warm