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Food of the Week – Asparagus

  • Folate, whish a B Vitamin richly found in asparagus, is essential to a healthy heart. Folate also helps prevent spina bifida and birth defects.
  • A diuretic, asparagus helps our body reduce swelling and arthritis
  • The carbohydrate inulin found in asparagus helps increase the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut while inhibiting the proliferation of harmful bacteria – which helps to prevent colon cancer.
  • High in vitamin K, which keeps our bones strong and prevents calcium from building up to high in our tissues.  Too much calcium can cause a stroke and/or heart attack.
  • Asparagus is a good source for vitamin C, which helps maintain a healthy immune system, lowers blood pressure, and aids in the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Asparagus is a source of iron, providing our cells and tissues with oxygen
  • Asparagine is an amino acid found in asparagus and I helps to cleanse our body of toxin
  • Many women have found that eating asparagus during their menstrual cycle helps to prevent cramps.

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Fun Fact: The fruit of the asparagus plant is a poisonous small red berry.  Asparagus is a member of the lily family! 


Easy Veggie Skillet
​This mixture of tender veggies is perfect for packed meals for the week. The savory and tangy flavor element from the vinegar adds the perfect amount of kick to liven up a serving of protein.

One of the reasons that I chose these three particular vegetables (red onions, mushrooms, and asparagus) was because it will last all week in the fridge without getting soft, soggy or otherwise undesirable. In fact, the flavors intensify over a few days and you can continue to enjoy the same batch all week!

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

Servings: 8

Here’s what you need

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 bunches Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 4 cups white mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the asparagus and sauté for another 4 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and vinegar and continue to sauté for another 4 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper and continue to sauté until the liquid is gone and the veggies are tender and flavorful. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

One serving equals: 43 calories, 2g fat, 5g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, 4mg sodium, 2g fiber, and 3g protein.

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Food of the Week Chocolate

  • The word “chocolate” is derived from the Aztec cacahuatl, meaning “bitter water,” and refers to the extremely bitter unsweetened drink the Aztecs made from ground cocoa beans and spices.
  • Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree theobroma, which aptly means “food for the gods.” 
  • Dark chocolate has large quantities of flavonoids called catechins, which may benefit heart health. 
  • Dark chocolate is an energy-rich food that provides about 170 calories per ounce; however, during processing varying amounts sugar which effects the caloric content.
  • Eating dark chocolate provides you with a variety of minerals including iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. One ounce of dark chocolate contains 3 milligrams of iron. 
  • The theobromine in chocolate is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator, it increases heartbeat, and also dilates blood vessels, causing a reduced blood pressure.  

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Fun Facts ~It takes 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate. The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.


Thumbprint Cookies
​Wait, an article about giving up sugar and then a recipe for cookies? Have I lost my mind? This recipe for Thumbprint Cookies is made exclusively using stevia, so you can avoid sugar and eat a cookie too!

Stevia is a natural sweetener (derived from a leaf that you can grow in your own garden) that has zero calories and zero sugar content. The benefits are huge to using stevia as a sweetener of choice.

If we can make cookies that have zero sugar content but still taste sweet and satisfying then shouldn’t we? It makes us healthier, leaner and more energetic. All without sacrificing the joy of having a delicious cookie.

Sure, if you’ve never used stevia then there will be an adjustment period. A time to get your taste buds accustomed to the absence of sugars. But once you adjust then you’ll wonder how you ever handled all that sugar in the first place. Give these low sugar cookies a try!

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

Servings: 30

Here’s what you need

  • ⅔ cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons liquid stevia
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 4oz lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate (chips or bar)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup natural peanut butter (or another nut butter or berries)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the blanched almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, and sea salt. Whisk to remove any lumps.
  3. In an electric mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, cream and stevia until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and almond extract on low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the dry ingredients on low speed by spoonful until creamed into the coconut oil mixture.
  5. Shape cookies with a heaping teaspoon of dough, making an indention with your thumb. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the pan before removing.
  6. While the cookies bake, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler, mixing until smooth. Dip the base of the cookies and pour a little chocolate into the indentions, topping with a teaspoon of peanut butter. Transfer to a parchment paper lined pan that fits in your freezer. Place the cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes until the chocolate has set. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

One serving equals: 90 calories, 7g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 10mg sodium, 1g sugar, 2g fiber, and 2g protein.

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Food of the week Chicken Breast

  • ​Chicken breast is a great source for lean protein in the diet, when eaten without the skin.
  •  A 3.5oz serving contains 142 calories and 3.1g of fat.
  • The chicken is a descendant of the Southeast Asian red jungle fowl first domesticated in India around 2000 B.C.
  • Most of the birds raised for meat in America today are from the Cornish breed and the White Rock breed.
  • Chicken breast meat is rich in niacin at 59% of RDA.  It is also rich in B-6, phosphorus, selenium, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and potassium!

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Fun Fact – There are 26 people listed on Whitepages.com with the last name of ‘Chicken’.


Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
​There are many ways to prepare chicken breast. You could grill it, bake it, sauté it or fry it. You could eat it cold or hot, spicy or mild. You could season it generously or leave it plain. You could spend lots of time and effort, or barely any at all.

This Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken tops my list of favorite ways to prepare chicken breast. It requires minimal time and effort and results in moist, tender, flavorful chicken that could compete with just about any fancy chicken dish. All while providing superb nutrition to keep you fit, lean and in control of your health.

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

Servings: 12

Here’s what you need

  • 3 yellow or red onions, quartered and sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Oregano, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley, minced for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker and top with the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, broth, stevia, both mustards, thyme, oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes.
  3. Pour the mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with the garlic.
  4. Cover and cook on high, until the chicken is tender, for 4-5 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

One serving equals: 130 calories, 2g fat, 4g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, 350mg sodium, 1g fiber, and 26g protein.

 

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Food of the Week – Cauliflower

  • ​Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable (or Brassicaceae) family- along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts.
  •  Due to its special combination of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tocopherols, and ascorbic acid, cauliflower highly correlated with preventing chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, and various forms of cancers because it helps to decrease the inflammation that causes these problems.
  • A one cup serving is a mere 29 calories and has close to zero grams of fat, sugar, and sodium.  However, it does offer 73% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C,  19% of vitamin K,  11% fiber, and 9% protein.
  • Cauliflower is gaining popularity as a rice substitute in many traditional recipes.
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​Fun Fact ~   A world’s record was set in 2014 for the largest cauliflower.  It weighed 60 pounds, 9.3 ounces, and was six feet wide measured across the leaves.


Roasted Za’atar Cauliflower
​If you haven’t tried Za’atar, it’s worth picking up a bottle of the savory spice. It gives cauliflower a whole new flavor dimension. It’s also wonderful used to flavor meat for the BBQ.

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons za’atar spice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Wash and chop the cauliflower into florets. Combine the florets, olive oil, za’atar and sea salt in a large bowl.
  3. Spread the floret mixture over the prepared pan. Roast for 30 minutes until tender. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis

One serving equals: 122 calories, 7g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 101mg sodium, 3g sugar, 7g fiber, and 5g protein.

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