Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries and 29

Well, this is my Birthday week. It’s my last year in the 20’s and although I really don’t feel any different, I am looking forward to what this year will hold for me in all senses.
I have to be honest I am actually happy to be getting older. I feel sexier, healthier and definitely way more comfortable under my own skin than I think I have my whole life or at least since I was 15 when things were easy and simple.

I have gone through so much in the past 9 years I think I could write a book.
I’ll tell you the top 9 things that happened to me since I turned 20; seeing that I’m turning 29 I’ll put one down for each year in my 20’s.

  1. I got married 9 years ago to the most amazing person ever. Not only is he intelligent, handsome, courteous, thoughtful, humble, funny and understanding. He also makes me smile every single day, his faith in me and support are things that I can only thank God for. I know that I am lucky and I will strive forever to be the best wife/friend/woman I can possibly be for him but mainly because I need him in my life (so for me)!
  2. I moved to the States 9 years ago, leaving behind my roots and following my husband along with what ended up being an amazing experience allowing me to become cultured in all aspects of life all the while sharing my experiences with a wonderful man by my side. I started my whole life from scratch, moving from Georgia to Florida back to Georgia. In this time I found some amazing people that are still close friends, I had a wonderful job, and I became a US Citizen.
  3. I got to see alot of the US; New York, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Beverly Hills, LA, California, Savannah, Atalanta, Delaware, Annapolis, Charleston, Wilmington NC, Raleigh, All the Keys, Hilton Head SC, Tampa, St. Petersburg FL, Clearwater FL, Boston, St. Augustine. How lucky am I! All of which are unique and beautiful. I found something I love in each city.
  4. I learned a lot about health, from very Normal Eating to becoming a Vegetarian to Veganism, back to Normal Eating with a more wholesome, organic and biological aspect. I am thoroughly in awe about how much there is to discover in this aspect of life. Nutrition is a passion of mine.
  5. I was able to hang out in some of the best clubs in the USA with amazing DJs from Pete Tong, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Morillo, Deep Dish, Flosstradamus, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, etc….I also got to see Velvet Revolver play at Mansion in Miami; as well as (ok, hang on……) Hoobastank, remember “The Reason”, well I loved that song and they played in St. Petersburg, Dave Navaro again down in Miami, Bengi Madden with Paris Hilton (yeah back when they were dating), etc…
  6. I became a Yogi. I love Yoga the way it makes me feel is something out of this world. My favorites are Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. It really has strengthened my body. I also started with Pilates and find that the mixture between yoga and pilates is a fantastic combo. Not to mention that 6 month ago I started the Tracy Anderson Meta Program and this has been the best challenge became addiction, I can’t live without her 6 days a week. My Body looks better than ever.
  7. I wanted to go to an Island for some relax, sun and romance with my Husband. We did! Yes, it was Maroma in Cancun Mexico. What a paradise that was I mean the powder white sand, the massage in a cabana over the sea at sunset with only the sound of the waves, the lobster candlelight dinner with our own little cabana out in the middle of the sea, the bubble rose petal bath, the pool on our balcony overlooking the sea with champagne, the amazing fresh fish fished everyday and cooked to perfection, and all the romance that surrounded us the whole 7 days.
  8. We wanted to move to Italy and not save that on a bucket list, so we decided to sell all, quit our jobs and move to Italy. Has it been a journey, I mean coming back home and bringing back my amazing Husband has been a reward of a lifetime, challenging but rewarding. I love my country and it’s such a different experience to see it with him. We are taking full advantage of the farmers markets, fresh foods, wines and amazing cuisine. We went to Tuscany, Positano, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Verona, Rome just to name a few. Oh man, I’m falling in love with my country more and more.
  9. Oh, did I mention we went to Paris. Yeah, such a gorgeous country. Okay I know that this is a lot of countries, but if there is one thing I love (and Thank God my husband does too) is to travel, we really love to take trips and see things that we will be able to enjoy now that we are young. We are making the most of our lives. So that when we have kids we can sit back and relax. (or enjoy their craziness). Ha!

Now, back to the recipe of the day (or that I will eat for my Birthday). I think it’s perfect because you can maintain your summer figure without giving up on a delicious dessert and still reap the benefits and nutrients that your body actually needs from the Strawberries and Dark Chocolate. This is definitely a favorite of ours and also just so simple to make. I usually make about 250gr. and save them in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

250 gr. Strawberries, washed and patted dry

1 bar Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Parchment Baking Paper

Get a smaller pot fill with water only about a little over a quarter, place over medium heat bring to a boil. In the meantime get a smaller bowl (make sure it’s strong enough to withstand heat glass or ceramic should do the trick) that will be able to fit in the pot, get your chocolate bar and break it up placing inside of the bowl.

Once the water is boiling lower heat to a minimum and place the bowl with the chocolate inside give it a few minutes and you will see that the chocolate will start to melt, stir gently with a spoon and when it’s completely melted you may turn off heat.

Prepare a flat dish with the parchment paper laid out on top of it and now grab your strawberries, dip one by one and lay gently onto the parchment paper. Place the strawberries in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes then eat. Or leave them in the fridge until ready to eat. Simple.

The method I used to melt the chocolate is called Bain-Marie you can learn more here

Cherry Tomato & Asparagus Strozzapreti

Asparagus season has been taken full advantage of this year in my house. I have consistently incorporated it for the past month in as many meals as possible, which I’ve mentioned in my other post here. Whether it was the star or the side it was there.

I tried to be as creative with it as possible. Not just steaming, grilling or blanching it and serving as a side veggie but I really tried to let it shine on its own and give the dish that amazing, subtle flavor that it so pleasantly has and which I love.
My darling Husband loves his pasta. Sometimes I think that he is more Italian than I am when it comes to this food in particular; he could eat it everyday (like most Italians). So, of course I made a delicious pasta dish that incorporated his favorite (Fresh Tomato and Basil sauce mainly known here as Salsa Fresca) with a twist of Asparagus in it. It turned out nicely and was easy as can be. Let’s not forget HEALTHY as well!

I used Strozzapreti in this dish but any pasta will be just fine.
Strozzapreti meaning Priest Strangler in Italian is a typical pasta from my region in Italy, Romagna. Known for being the poor man’s pasta, it requires discreet and simple ingredients, it’s cut into strips about 1-1.5cm wide and about 5cm long.
There are several legends about this pasta and where the name derives from one of them being that the women would stay home and prepare this homemade pasta and offer it to the town Priest; making the Husbands angry and wishing that the Priest choke on the pasta.   Another one is that the reason why this pasta is made without eggs is because the Priest would take the eggs away and the Housewife would have to make the pasta without eggs and while the woman was kneading the pasta she would wish the Priest would choke on the eggs that she would’ve used to make the pasta for her family.

Lot’s of theories and stories behind this pasta, I think it’s delicious and was a perfect choice for this dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Serves 2

200gr. Strozzapreti

6 Cherry Tomatoes

200gr. Asparagus

1 Garlic clove

6 Basil leaves

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (as much as you like)

Place a pot of salted water to boil.
In the meantime cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Grab your garlic clove, peel and lightly press down on it with your knife (just so it can open up a bit).

In a large saucepan over medium heat add the Olive oil, once the oil is hot add the garlic and wait about 1 minute before you add the chopped tomatoes. Allow to cook about 2 minutes.

Now grab your asparagus and chop about the same length of the pasta that you are using. Add to the tomatoes, stir all ingredients and allow to continue to cook at low flame. All in all I’d say 10 -15 minutes. Add your salt and the basil leaves. Stir and continue to cook.

By this point your water should be boiling throw in the pasta and follow cooking instructions on the package. Strain and add to the tomatoes and asparagus, mix well and serve. Enjoy.

 

Soft, Healthy, Dairy & Gluten -free Oatmeal Cookies

Experiments, Experiments. Seems like I am always trying to find a way to think up healthy good for you alternatives to some of my favorite meals and treats.

So, let’s start off with me heading to the store on my bike; I only had to get a few things some fruit and veggies. Like most of the time I ended up buying way more than I planned, not thinking much of it I got this heavy bag put it on the back of my bike and secured it with the latch. I started riding my bike and I could feel as though it might be a bit too heavy and without even giving me the chance to stop the bag flies out of the bike onto the middle of the street, argh……. so I stop start picking up my bananas, melon, nuts, and so forth put them back on the bike and try to hold onto them while trying to pedal and maneuver this bike to the house at the same time; as if one time weren’t enough the bag flies out onto the middle of the street for a second time bringing a car to a screeching halt, eyes rolling at me as if I were some idiot (which I guess I sorta was). I raise my hand politely saying sorry and pick up my fruit again. This time I put some on the side bags and then the rest in my basket up front. Got home without any other unbearable embarrassment. Phew!!

I’m sure you can guess at this point that my bananas were completely bruised 😦
Although thankfully enough the rest wasn’t really damaged, I lost a good portion of my nuts, but I guess that’s what I get for not thinking this grocery run through correctly. (BTW I like to go to the grocery store on my bike, but I generally get just a few things and this sorta sh@#t doesn’t happen.)

Well I had to figure out a way to use these poor, poor bananas (no way in hell I was going to throw them out after all I had been through!)
Ummmm, well what is great with bananas none other than our friend oats?!
I decided that I would try to make healthy oatmeal cookies adding a nice alternative to my breakfast or a snack. They actually turned out quite tasty. And to top it off healthy, so what more could one want. I’d say they are a breakfasty, protein packed, pre-workout or just anytime cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes about 6 cookies

1 Banana

1/4 cup Peanut Butter, (all natural)

1/2 cup Oats

1/2 tbsp. Sucant Sugar, Or raw

1 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup Raisins or Dried Cranberries

Preheat your oven at 350°F (180°C)

Mash up your banana and mix in a bowl along with peanut butter.

Add baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar mix well. Now add the oats and raisins. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon onto baking sheet and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus & Red Wine Porcini

I will eat pretty much anything that has a combination of seasonal vegetables and risotto.
I love risotto it’s a luscious and delicious way of making an incredible meal without too much effort and/or ingredients. Bonus it’s healthy too!
I know people think that it really is so hard to make, but the reality couldn’t be further from that.

My favorite vegetable is in season in Italy right now and we are taking full advantage of incorporating it in our everyday meals, it will only be around for about another month so we can’t seem to have enough of it. Grilled Chicken and Asparagus, Salmon and Asparagus, Salads with shaved Asparagus, Pasta with Asparagus and of course Risotto con Asparagi e Funghi Porcini.
It’s a great and a really easy ingredient yet absolutely flavorful and rewarding to cook with. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and detoxifying diuretic goodness that it’s hard to ignore it.

My husband asked for Risotto it didn’t matter how it was made or with which ingredient but he just wanted a risotto, like more often than not I opened the fridge and had an ‘aha’ moment and decided that it would be with asparagus and what’s delicious in a risotto? its porcini. I opened the cupboard and had some beautiful dried porcini (which are perfect especially when making risotto). I decided that I would soak them in the bottle of Chianti we had opened a few nights back but hadn’t completely finished. So I did, 1 Cup Chianti and 2 Cups water threw my Porcini in their and let them soak for atleast an hour. The flavor they delivered this dish was just amazing. Of course you can omit the wine and just soak them in water…up to you!

Here’s the Recipe. Enjoy and let me know what you think….Ciao.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

200gr. Brown Rice*

100gr. Dried Porcini, soaked and strained prior to cooking

200gr. Asparagus

1.5 qt. of Vegetable Broth

1 Shallot

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop up your asparagus stems in about 1 inch rings save the tips, separate and set aside.

Mince your shallot. Grab a large pan over medium heat and drizzle some e.v.o, add your shallot and allow to get golden. Add your mushrooms and allow to cook along with shallot for about 5 minutes. Add your chopped asparagus stems and rice, stir well and pour in 1/2 of your broth, allow to cook for about 10 minutes stirring every now and then.

Now add your Asparagus tips, salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining broth. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes stirring every 2-3 minutes and serve.

*I used one specifically for Risotto so it cooked in 20 min, if you use another one check the cooking instructions on the package.

**I topped of with some chili peppers, my husband topped off with Parmigiano Reggiano. You do what you like.

 

Tips to a Binge-free, Thin and Healthy Life

I have been asked the question about binge eating from mythineats readers and how to overcome this habit.
I believe a lot of people struggle with this, so today I will broach this subject and give you a few tips that work for me; you must remember that I am not a medical or professional or doctor and before you change anything in your life please consult a medical professional.

BINGEING PRESENT PARTICIPLE OF BINGE
Indulge in an activity, esp. eating or drinking, to excess: “she cannot help binging on food”.

This is the dictionary definition. What I mainly want to discuss and help understand is why are we bingeing and how to overcome it.

To me there is a huge difference between eating to excess and eating one more piece of cake. I also believe that the reason people binge is because we are stressed, unhappy, angry, lonely, bored and more than anything tied to the idea that food is bad and we shouldn’t eat it if we want to feel good about ourselves or look like the girl in the magazine then we need to abide by the rule of no eating. Right? Wrong!

Society sets us up to believe that we are gaining weight or miserable because we eat too much, they publish a ton of articles with skinny, long legged models on the cover and then next to it say “want to look like her here is the diet”. So, we go on this diet because for some reason we think that we are going to end up looking just like the model if we do it and then when the diet comes to an end we are left to fend for ourselves except that we feel starved and possibly still unhappy (because not much has changed) that we decide to eat whatever we want because we were good and we did the diet and we deserve this much, and of course not to mention that our body just wants food but we don’t have a guide to follow after the diet so we eat everything and anything and lose control. This is what I think leads to a lot of binges. If we just had a healthy relationship with food we could stop constantly thinking about it and obsessing over everything that we put in our mouth and just really eat when we are hungry and hopefully be conscious about making healthy decisions not just for weight-loss, but mainly for health. If you are unhealthy there is no way that the food you eat is beneficial towards a gorgeous figure but more likely towards healing our bodies, and using up energy just to keep us functioning.

As you know I believe in eating everything in moderation and that if you listen to your body you will know when and what to eat. You are not going to get fat because today you ate a handful of chips, or because you had a piece of chocolate cake after dinner, but you will gain weight (and binge) if you put it off too long, restrict and tell yourself you can’t have it at all; because the minute you are stressed or let your guard down you are going to attack the whole bag of chips or end up eating the whole cake in one sitting, giving you the feeling that you have done something horribly wrong, and punish yourself by never eating a chip or cake again until the next time comes around and you are weak and do it all over again. It’s a cycle.

I’m fortunate enough to have been blessed with good genes and also with healthy eating habits since a very young age, with that being said I still had my shares of struggles. As you know I started cleansing about 7 years ago and after the 3rd time I got pretty addicted to it doing it about twice a year. Initially I started doing it because I really felt and looked good, I had energy, my skin glowed, I felt fantastic; but with that also came 10lbs of weight loss (mostly water and muscle mass) little did I know that I started using it as a crutch, I would cleanse and then when I would come off it in order to maintain I would try to eat about as little as humanly possible.
Let’s say just a green salad all day because I knew that I would gain all weight back if I ate normally, the problem is that you can only go so long (especially if you are a foodie as myself) eating just salads and 10 almonds a day. Then come the weekends and I would allow myself a glass of wine maybe some warm fresh baked bread (my utter addiction) with some cheese, you feel bloated and think “what the hell I ate badly already I might as well have more bread and maybe some chocolate and some of this and some of that”. I never binged to where I would eat a whole pint of ice cream but I definitely felt hopeless at times because I just over did it and started to look for more food in the cupboard to eat because I messed up and needed to punish myself tomorrow by not eating anything so I needed to eat as much as possible today. Then I would cleanse to be able to get “back on track” with my weight and eating only a salad bowl. Bad! But true! So, here as some tips that I use and that have completely and utterly changed my life for the better, I feel great and am in the best shape of my life, but mostly I eat what I want, when I want and I don’t punish myself because of it. Yes, there is bread in my life and many more foods that you would be shocked about (Lasagna, Pasta, Pizza, etc..) I eat it when I really want it and don’t actually crave it as often as you would think because it’s not forbidden it’s allowed and I know I can have it when I want it. It doesn’t have those bad effects on me because my body is in a good shape and these foods are not staples but mere accompaniments to my healthy Lifestyle where I mainly (because I love) eat Vegetables, Fruits, Lean Proteins, Nuts and Whole Grains. I hope that you find these tips helpful.

1. No more Dieting
I know this is hard but trust me they don’t work. Just try to live a healthy life style, food is fuel and it’s what we live on so it will be around your whole life. Make it your friend not your enemy. Eat mainly lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (aka nuts, olive oil, avocados), whole grain carbs and starches. Eat foods in their natural state as much as possible. Like raw sugar vs. white sugar, or dark 70% chocolate vs. white sugary chocolate, or steamed, grilled, baked, roasted, sautéed vegetables, meats vs. fried or battered.
2. Portion Control
Try not to eat out of the carton, bag or box. Serve yourself and let that be your portion. Say you want Almonds, serve yourself a ramekin and take it with you and let that be your portion. Just because they are healthy doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole container today, remember you are not on a diet so you can have them again tomorrow. Same goes for any other food, try to serve your snacks or treats in small bowls or ramekins. Your body will thank you.
3. Listen to your Body
Learn the difference between hunger and cravings. Say you get a sudden craving for sweets but you just ate; drink a nice tall glass of water give it 20 minutes and if you are still craving something sweet have a delicious apple or any fruit. This should satisfy your craving for sweets. Now, if you continue to have the craving the next day or later on in the day I say go for it; serve yourself a scoop of ice cream and enjoy every bite of it. I say no dieting, but make mindful decisions also. Choose the best for your health, what is going to make you feel better about yourself, not disgusting and gross.
4. Keep a food Journal
I started keeping a food journal about 5 years ago, I write everything I eat throughout the day and how I feel. I have since figured that I am intolerant to soy (because although everyone said that it was good for me and milk was bad) I still always felt fatigued, bloated and really uncomfortable, turns out I am really intolerant and have a very hard time processing it. I eliminated it from my life and I am back to enjoying my cappuccino in the morning. Again this journal helps with listening to your body and its needs, but also helps you with tips 1 & 2 because you need to write everything down and sometimes you don’t want to write down “ate pint of ice cream today”. Catch my drift. 😉
5. Don’t deprive yourself
If you forbid or deprive yourself from foods that you might crave but don’t necessarily fall in the “good for you list” don’t put it off too long or you will be just setting yourself up for failure and a binge. Remember tips 2 & 3 and enjoy! Don’t overly restrict your diet. I like to follow the 80/20 rule which is you eat healthy 80% of the time and then you can indulge 20% of the time it’s easy and fair.
6. Move on
Come to terms with the fact that no one is perfect and there will be times when you might not be able to say no (say Christmas,  Holidays, your Birthday or Special Occasions) you had a piece of cake more, well move on. No one got fat off eating 2 pieces of cake you don’t have to go on a binge to punish yourself. You indulged now make better choices for your next meals. Maybe instead of having a scoop of ice cream for dessert have a fruit. It’s ok!
7. Set yourself up for success
You will reach your goal of weight loss or feeling fantastic. No one got toned and looks fantastic from starving and bingeing. It takes determination! Live a healthy lifestyle and try to go for walk, get some exercise these are the only ways you are going to get rewarded for the hard work you are putting into your life. Starving will only make you lose mass and without mass you get skinny fat, which means that if you binge you gain weight and if you gain weight without muscle mass you look bloated and soft, no definition and you retain a lot more fluids. So, set yourself up that if you do eat a cake for dessert you won’t lose all the hard work of eating healthy and exercising that you put in everyday. It might be a slower process but its long lasting. Believe you me.
Also don’t buy a bag of chips if you know that you can’t control yourself around them. Don’t spend money on failure. Why are you going to buy the bag of chips for just incase you start craving them you have them around? The store doesn’t go anywhere, so leave them at the store and if you get a real bad craving for them and really, really want them at 10 o’clock at night get dressed, get out of your comfy, warm clothes and go to the store to buy them, make it to where failure is harder to achieve not right there in your cupboard.
8. Take Control
Most importantly you need to remember that you are in control of your body and you make the decision of what you feel like eating or need to eat based on how you feel or what you want for yourself. No one can tell you what to do. Suggestions are welcome but don’t allow them to overwhelm you. We are all different and respond to foods differently. Just because I can’t drink soy and feel better on lactose-free organic milk doesn’t mean that you can’t feel great on soy or drink it. Don’t stress if you are invited to a restaurant to have dinner with friends just because you feel that you are going to lose control remember what you had the day before or for lunch and balance your meals out. If you feel like ordering the baked potato go for it, try to have it as healthy as possible (like just the sour cream, or just the butter and chives, not cheese, bacon, sour cream, etc.. all at once), and if you do and you really were craving it then don’t order the fried chicken or fried shrimp as well order a nice side salad, some steamed veggies and some grilled protein. Balance! Train yourself to remember that this is not your last meal; today you are craving the baked potato, eat it. If you still want the molten lava cake then come back tomorrow and order it. It’s not your last meal; it’s one of many to come. Take control of your life and enjoy it.

I hope that this helps answer how you too can live a healthy and binge free, balanced lifestyle. No more punishments and no more restrictions. Just try to make healthy choices and train your body to crave good for you pick me up foods not the bad foods that make you feel worse about yourself after the 2 seconds are passed. Enjoy life and mostly the array of foods this world has to offer. Here and here you can learn some healthy eating habits. Regain control of your life and know that you are gorgeous and there is only one of you so no need to compare because no one in this world will ever be you! Have a fantastic week.

This is me and I had just ate a plate of pasta with my sister.This is me at the beginning of The 90 Day Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis Method. I started doing it in November of 2012 and I will post about that and how it’s going soon. A lot has changed and I feel fantastic considering that I’m up to day 130….My body looks and feels great. It’s tighter, way more toned (yes I have kind of a six pack). I’ll post about that and a new picture too soon. For now I just wanted to show you that you can eat and be in shape too! That’s why I picked a picture of only eating healthy without the workout body! Ciao

Lemon Zest and Pepper Baked Low-Fat Chicken

Today I felt like posting one recipe that I feel I could eat everyday. This is not about the fact that it’s healthy, low-fat, low-calorie or good for you; it’s about the fact that I love to eat this and so does my Husband.
We love everything that has to do with chicken I love it grilled, steamed, rotisserie, fried and baked. Of course the way I mainly eat it is grilled or baked they are easier, healthier and probably my 2 favorite ways of eating it. If I’m grilling or baking it I always drizzle with some olive oil, dash salt and pepper and then at times add some rosemary, or sage or thyme whatever seems to be available. This time I added lemon zest and the flavor was so delicious I had to post it. I accompanied the dish with quinoa (another of our favorite ingredients) you can learn all about it’s nutrition facts and how to cook it here. As for the vegetables well I made a variety, asparagus, sundried tomatoes and artichokes. This was a delicious meal fully packed of vitamins and minerals with amazing flavors. I hope that you enjoy it and remember that healthy is delicious.

This dish is perfect for trying to stay in shape but really getting the maximum benefits of what you are putting into you body. Chicken as well as Quinoa are great protein sources to keep you lean and fit. You choose what you want to accompany this dish with and remember that there are so many sides that are healthy and this chicken will compliment anything. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Serves 2

2 skinless chicken breasts

1/2 lemon, zested

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Chili flakes (optional)

Salt and Peppercorns to taste

Preheat your oven at 400°F (200°C)

In a baking dish add your chicken breasts, drizzle with some E.V.O, sprinkle lemon zest, and rest of ingredients. Bake for 20 minutes or until poked and liquid is clear. Serve.

If you would like add some rosemary or other herbs to dish. Your choice!

Mazzancolle al Sale Marino – Sea Salt & Peppercorn Prawns (A Skinny Girl Dish)

We all know how good seafood is for you. It’s a healthy and good for you protein. I myself am a huge fan of anything fish/seafood. One of my favorites are prawns or shrimp. Seafood should be a healthy part of your diet. Prawns health benefits are many one of them being its rich content of selenium and 100 g mineral content per serving which prevents the growth of cancer cells therefore protecting the body from cancer.

One serving of prawns only contains 1.73 g of total fat, with less than 1 g of that being saturated. Prawns also contain .49 g of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the fatty acids in prawns reduces and prevents the body against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A serving of prawns supplies you with 20.3 g of protein. Proteins in prawns provides body with growth and development. The calories in prawns are less when compared to meat and beef. Moreover the nutritional benefits of prawns make it healthy for the body while adding taste to the food. This is why prawns have nutritional benefits.

Loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin B3, and zinc, Prawns are an excellent, carbohydrate-free food for anyone determined to shed off pounds. Zinc supplementation of zinc deficient subjects has been shown to increase the levels of circulating leptin. Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the body’s energy expenditure, fat storage, and appetite. Insufficient leptin levels are believed to be the primary cause of food cravings, overeating, and obsession with food. The iodine in shrimp is good for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland which controls the basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body consumes energy at rest. Iodine deficiency can result in sluggish thyroid activity which in turn can lead to weight gain or hinder weight loss.

Enjoy the nutritional and health benefits of prawn.
I went to the store the other day and they had these beautiful looking prawns. I had to buy them. Other than the obvious delicious ways I enjoy making them (grilled, steamed, lightly sauteed and of course boiled and added to a salad) I decided that I would go ahead and try this more than famous Italian recipe.
I didn’t have obviously enough salt in the house to completely cover them so I used what I had and added a few extra twists of my own (as always), but the result was to die for. I hope that you Enjoy.
Ingredients:
Serves 2
  • 10 Prawns or Large Shrimp
  • 1 cup Sea Salt
  • A bunch of mixed dried Herbs, rosemary, thyme, and whatever you like
  • 1/4 cup mixed whole Peppercorns
Preheat your oven at 200°C (400°F)
Wash your Prawns and dry them with a paper towel. Mix the salt together with herbs and peppercorns. Pour half of the flavored salt in the bottom of your baking dish and arrange the prawns evenly.
Coat the shrimp with the rest of the flavored salt and cook for 15-20 min at 200°C, when color changes.
Rinse salt off before serving this way you don’t eat too much salt and you don’t get bloated, but you have the amazing flavor. Ha! Enjoy!

Cabbage Leaf + Parsley Omelet Stuffed with Brown Rice Wrap

Sometimes you just need to think outside the box. I seem to be enjoying brown rice so much lately; it’s almost like I can’t get enough of it. I got so involved with these new grains, (quinoa, Khorsan Kamut, gluten-free this n’ that, even Couscous) I forgot about one of my favorite grains and that being rice, especially brown, black and whole grain rice.

Well, like many of my inventions this one came from the craving for rice; so I opened up the fridge like many a times before and found that I had cabbage, so I got this curious idea of using it as a wrap for my rice, then I thought why not double-wrap the rice and make a thin parsley omelet, I could possibly bake it for just 15 minutes and let all the aromas get infused. Well, it worked out and I decided to post this recipe.

So, the box I was refereeing to at the beginning of this post was the fact that you can make all types of wraps and you don’t only have to stuff bell peppers; you can invent anything you want and it’s so fun to re-invent healthy food. I think health ingredients are my favorite ones to work with. I guess it’s the fact that not only is healthy a habit or lifestyle it’s truly the person I am. I can’t imagine not eating healthy foods with healthy ingredients.

Healthy for me is the obvious vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and lean proteins; but also foods that come for organic upbringing, foods that are handled with care and love. I think Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala, Pecorino, Prosciutto Crudo di Parma or San Daniele, Gelato, or fresh baked Bread all have healthy ingredients in them; they may not be things that you would eat everyday but when you look at the way they make these foods, you can pronounce all the ingredients and they are all natural (atleast here in Italy). If I’m craving something it’s generally these things. So, don’t always assume that healthy has to be strictly, low-fat, low-cal, no fun foods in your diet I think they just need to be made from real ingredients and a good source of nutrition.

Now lets get to cooking a delicious light, meatless Monday meal.

 

Ingredients:
Makes 4 wraps

1 ½ cups Brown Rice, cooked

4 large or 8 medium Cabbage leaves

4 Parsley Omelets, see below

Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drizzle Soy Sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling salted water you may either add the whole cabbage head for 8 minutes, remove from heat and then pull off the leaves or pull of the leaves first blanch them in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes and then place them in cold water, remove and set aside.

Mix your brown rice with a bit of E.V, O, a tiny splash of soy and pepper.

Preheat the oven at 250°
In a baking tray drizzle just a bit of E.V.O.
Now on a flat surface lay your omelet, then lay your cabbage leaf on top, get a little over ¼ cup of rice and place in the middle of the cabbage leaf and close up kind of like a burrito, place in the baking tray. Continue the steps until you make all the wraps.
Now you may drizzle a little soy and e.v.o over the wraps, place in the oven for 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy

 

How to make the Parsley Omelets:
Makes 4 Parsley Omelets

4 Egg Whites

3 Egg Yolks

1 tbsp E.V.O

2 tbsp Chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Beat all ingredients together. Now with a ladle place one spoonful of egg mixture in a non-stick pan and spread out thinly cook and flip carefully. Place aside and continue with other omelets.

P.S. If you want you can just do cabbage and rice and leave out the Omelet.

 

Traditional Italian Savory Easter Cake – My Way Sans Gluten

A happy early Easter to you all! It’s only Monday but I figured that I would give you a Meatless-Monday recipe to try out; as well as a Northern Italian (specifically from Genova) Traditional Savory Easter cake: Torta Pasqualina. You’ll be amazed at how healthy it is. No joke!

This delicious recipe calls for amazing ingredients mainly being; spinach, fresh cheese, puff pastry and eggs. Yes, quite surprising but something so simple can really be so delicious.
I truly enjoyed the simplicity of the ingredients and was amazed at how I had never made it before at home and why?! This is a perfect nutritional dish. Spinach and eggs?? And this is something that is a traditional Holiday dish, which means that you don’t have to eat anything unhealthy for Easter!! Alright so you have your Torta Pasqualina (which means Easter Cake) which is quite filling on its own leaving you with very little space for anything else, then you have some lamb or whatever meat your family makes, some side veggies and some delicious dark chocolate for dessert. That’s not bad at all.
Healthy, Traditional & Delicious. Oh yes, you can eat and be thin too!

I made this Cake without the puff pastry so I followed all the steps just leaving out the puff pastry; hence making it gluten-free and a bit lighter. But if you are going to make it the real traditional way just make sure to get 2 puff pastry sheets, follow the instructions below and add these 2 steps:

  1. Lay one sheet of rolled out puff pastry down onto the baking tray. Pour in your filling and follow the instructions below in the recipe.
  2. Lay the second sheet of puff pastry on the top and close up like a pie. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

I really hope that you enjoy this as much as we did. Happy Meatless Monday and Happy Easter!!! From my home to yours. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes a 20cm Cake (8in cake) with puff pastry. Without puff pastry use a 6in cake pan.

350g. (3/4 lb) of Spinach*

150g. (1/4 lb) of Ricotta

70g. (2.5oz) of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

5 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil your spinach in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and squeeze out as much water with your hands as possible. Chop and set aside.

Preheat your oven at 200°C (390°F)

Prepare the filling by mixing your ricotta with the egg and parmigiano. Add salt and pepper to taste and once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed add the spinach. Make sure that this is well incorporated.

Grab your circular baking tray drizzle 1tbsp. of E.V.O. (skip this step if sing puff pastry). Pour your filling and lay out evenly, now make 4 indentations big enough to crack an egg in them and then carefully crack an egg in each hole. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes. My husband doesn’t like his eggs at all runny so I cooked it thoroughly but you can cook till desired egg doness. Serve and enjoy.

*for the Spinach you can also use frozen, make sure to thaw and squeeze as well.

 

Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.