SPINACH LOVERS MONTH

tl-october-is-spinach-lovers-monthpopeye-37117_1280Who remembers this fella???  Yep, it’s Popeye!!!  Remember what his super-food was???  Absolutely…  it was SPINACH!

Spinach is part of a healthy diet.  I’m finding new and different ways to use spinach, but my favorite recipe is creamed spinach.  I was tickled to find a copycat recipe for Boston Market’s creamed spinach.  It’s low-carb and delicious!

Low-Carb Creamed Spinach

Makes 8 servings

4g. carbs per serving

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. butter

1/2 c. chopped shallots

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 1/2 c. half & half

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

8 oz. Havarti cheese

16 oz. fresh spinach

Instructions:

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Pour half & half in and reduce to low heat.  Stir in salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg.  Add in Havarti cheese and cook on low heat until it’s melted and combined throughout.  Once melted, add in the spinach and toss together until coated with cheese.

Serve warm.

This is a great side dish for steak or fish.  Some days I don’t want a great big meal and just fix this.  Spinach is packed with nutrients that keep us strong – just like Popeye!popeyeolive_bizarropanel-248x300spinach-dd-02enjoyspinach

Here are some other ways to enjoy spinach:

  • Spinach Smoothie.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  There’s not much flavor to spinach so you can add in the nutrition boost without changing the taste.  Add a handful of spinach next time and see for yourself.  Making smoothies and juicing is not the best way to consume any fruit or vegetable for diabetics because when you make the food liquid, it increases the sugar content and decreases the amount of fiber you get.  Diabetics need less sugar and more fiber, so keep that in mind.
  • Spinach Wrap.  Place grilled chicken in a spinach leaf and dip it into ranch dressing.  It’s pretty good!
  • Omelets.  Add spinach, mushrooms, onion, and cheese to make a nutritious and delicious filling for omelets.  Sometimes I add some applewood smoked bacon…  it’s delish!
  • Spinach Salad.  Toss in some strawberries or mandarin oranges.  A few apple chunks would even work.
  • Stir-Fry Dishes.  Spinach, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and broccoli stir-fried in a little olive oil makes a good lunch or dinner.images-205Keep in mind that spinach is:
  • Low in calories
  • High in Vitamin A
  • High in magnesium
  • High in fiber
  • Good source of calcium
  • Good source of antioxidants
  • Helps with cancer prevention
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Is high in folate
  • Increases brain function
  • Is an anti-inflammatory
  • Promotes healthy vision
  • Increases circulation
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Helps fight infection
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Is high in flavonoids
  • Good source in vitamin E
  • Good source of beta carotene
  • Good source of zinc
  • Increases bone density

If you’re a diabetic with neuropathy like me, spinach can help your neuropathy because it increases circulation.  I eat a lot of spinach and have not gone beyond the needles and pins sensation in my feet.  Good nutrition really does matter.  🙂popeye-spinach-shirt

 

NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY

TL 1-24 NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER'S DAY

1-24 DADDY AND PEANUT BUTTER

This is one of my favorite holidays, NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY!!!  Did you know it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter?  In our house, we have the peanut butter with no hydrogenated oils, which means there is no trans fat.  There is still a need to watch the serving size because they all use palm oil, but it’s more healthy if it is not hydrogenated.  Also, if the label says Peanut Butter Spread, it’s not the same as Peanut Butter.  Read labels carefully.  

How do you eat peanut butter?  I like to mix 2 Tbs. of peanut butter with 2 Tbs. of sugar-free honey and use it to dip apple slices.  There was a time I bought caramel dip for apple slices, but there is a ton of sugar in it and I needed to come up with a more healthy alternative.

LF PEANUT BUTTER SF CHOCOLATE SYRUP APPLE DIP

I like to use recipes for cookies that have no flour of gluten in them.  I found this one for peanut butter cookies.

http://youtu.be/XqPOdhc0E74

As usual, I substitute the white sugar with Splenda.  If you use a peanut butter with no hydrogenated oil, that makes this a perfectly healthy cookie!

 No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut. – Channing Pollock

Sometimes there is nothing better than an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  I heard a nutritionist say that there is nothing as balanced as that.  There is protein, carbohydrates and a little sugar to keep your blood sugar from bottoming out.  Since I have a problem with high blood sugar, I choose to have a sugar-free jelly.  Smucker’s sugar-free apricot spread is my favorite.  I also use a 9-grain bread instead of white bread because it doesn’t cause my blood sugar to spike.

OK – I just viewed this and it grossed me out.  I like peanut butter, and I like coffee (you KNOW I do) – but…  peanut butter coffee???  Oh yeah – no, that’s never happening!

http://youtu.be/RfhOSXOeF7M

I really don’t venture out and experiment with peanut butter like that.  Um…  no.  Besides, I’m not sure you can trust someone who says he has a glass of coffee instead of a cup.  Jus’ sayin’…

Peanut Butter with no hydrogenated oils is a healthy source of protein, but remember a serving size is only 1 Tablespoon – so it packs a nutritional punch!  It’s probably a bad idea to sit in front of the TV and mindlessly eat it straight from the jar.  I don’t know how anyone could do that anyway – I mean, wouldn’t it get stuck to the roof of your mouth?  :-/

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL DOG BISCUIT DAY

TL 2-23 NATIONAL DOG BISCUIT DAY

2-23 CANDIESOur dogs are priceless, aren’t they?  I’m so thankful to God for making animals to keep us company.  They are so sweet and cute and sometimes downright funny!

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.  – Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912

We’d do anything for our best friend.  Have you ever thought of baking your own dog biscuits?  These are delicious and nutritious!  Well, I assume they are delicious from the response I get when I bake them!

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup of Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheese

1/2 Cup of unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 Cup of any of the following: 1 can of salmon or tuna, drained; shredded beef, chicken, turkey or liver; ground meat or ground turkey or chicken

3 Eggs, beaten

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. You can roll out the mixture and using a cookie shape, cut out a size suitable for your dog. Or you can drop by spoonfuls on a baking sheet. Warm oven to 350 degrees and bake. Check after 10 minutes. You may want a softer cookie or leave in another 5-10 minutes for a crispier cookie. Cool on a rack. Put cookies in a container and refrigerate some and freeze the rest. You can take them out of the freezer as needed. They are good for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator (if your dog doesn’t finish them before that).

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.  – Ben Williams

And then there’s bath time – oh boy.

 From the dog’s point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.  – Mabel Louise Robinson

It’s surprising what ingredients are used in our dog’s treats and bones.  At least when I make them, there’s no doubt about the nutritional value my dog is getting.  Pet food is finally beginning to be a little more healthy, but there’s nothing quite like homemade dog treats!  Wink!  😉

EAT A CRANBERRY DAY

TL 11-23 EAT A CRANBERRY DAY

Today is EAT A CRANBERRY DAY!  I suggest you eat several or drink some diet cranberry juice (it’s yummy).  I fix this recipe with Brussels sprouts once in a while and it really is a good way to get healthy foods –  but the salad tastes so good.  I hope you’ll try it today.

Attention – COOKIES!!!  Now that I have your attention, take a look at this!

CRANBERRY DROP COOKIES

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup Splenda brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons milk

3/4 cup chopped cranberries

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease two large cookie sheets.

Cream butter and Splenda in a large mixing bowl with a mixer at medium speed.

Beat in milk, egg, vanilla and orange peel.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Gradually mix dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.

Carefully fold in cranberries by hand.  DO NOT use a mixer for this step.

Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets.

Space cookies about 2″ apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a batch of these cookies today?  Yum!  What are your favorite ways to eat or drink cranberries?  My mama always made her famous cranberry salad for our Thanksgiving dinner – and I can’t imagine turkey without the gravy, mashed potatoes and – you guessed it – cranberries!  Of course I don’t get mama’s salad anymore, but a side of cranberries for the turkey is a must in my opinion.

11-23 THE MERRY BERRY

I know it’s about Christmas…  lol!  I could not resist sharing it just a little early…  k???  If stores can have Christmas stuff out before Halloween then…  well – you know.

 Cranberries are nutritionally charged and offer a full range of health benefits.  Rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), cranberries  contain proanthocyanidin antioxidants, essential for overall wellness.  Most people are aware of the benefits of cranberry juice (of course I drink the diet Ocean Spray with Splenda).  It helps with urinary tract issues and helps keep diabetics well hydrated.

I have had SO many requests from diabetics for a sugar-free and low-carb cranberry relish – well good ol’ You Tube – it never lets me down!  Here are my favorites:

This one is really good – it is a more spicy relish:

So don’t criticize the humble cranberry today – eat or drink today to your heart’s content.  Make sure you have some cranberries to make that turkey taste even better for Thanksgiving dinner too.  😉

WORLD EGG DAY

TL 10-10 WORLD EGG DAY

10-10 EGGS

This is crazy! Entertaining… but crazy.

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked.  – Author Unknown

The International Egg Commission has proclaimed the second Friday in October as WORLD EGG DAY. Countries throughout the world will be joining to celebrate the egg. The first World Egg Day was celebrated in 1996 and since then we have seen a variety of wonderful events taking place internationally, with people enjoying and celebrating the wonderful versatility of the egg.

Here are 3 good reasons to pay homage to this gift from the chicken:

1. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein! Diabetics are always on the lookout for protein-rich foods.

2. Eggs are yellow, a color that automatically makes people happy!

3. Eggs are versatile. The first question you are asked when you order eggs at a restaurant is “How would you like your eggs?” Am I right?

Since this is a world-wide event, I thought it would be fun to post a recipe with some international flavor.

French Omelet

Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 Tbsp. water
1/8 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 tsp. butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup filling, such as shredded cheese, finely chopped ham

Directions:

BEAT eggs, water, salt and pepper in small bowl until blended.

MICROWAVE butter in 9-inch glass pie plate on HIGH until melted, about 30 seconds. TILT plate to coat bottom evenly. POUR egg mixture into hot pie plate. COVER TIGHTLY with plastic wrap, leaving a small vent.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 minutes. Do not stir.
When top is thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, PLACE filling on one half of the omelet. FOLD omelet in half with turner; slide from pie plate onto serving plate. SERVE immediately.

A tight cover is essential to achieve a tender, easily rolled or folded omelet in the microwave. It makes stirring unnecessary, and it traps steam, which promotes even cooking.

Prepare filling first. Omelets cook so quickly, any fillings should be ready to go before starting the eggs. Plan on 1/3 to 1/2 cup filling per 2-egg omelet. Raw foods should be cooked. Refrigerated foods should be heated. Shredded cheese and room temperature foods, such as jams and jellies are fine as is. Pieces should be small to prevent tearing the omelet when it’s folded.

Microwave ovens vary. Cook times may need to be adjusted.

But wait… we still don’t like those GREEN EGGS AND HAM, do we??? 😉

 

INTERNATIONAL EAT AN APPLE DAY

TL 9-20 INTERNATIONAL EAT AN APPLE DAY

9-20 APPLES

 

Hey – today is INTERNATIONAL EAT AN APPLE DAY!!!  Most fruit is nutritious, but apples have a great calorie / nutrition ratio! Make sure you keep the skin on it because if you peel your apple you lose all the healthy fiber. We all know fiber is our friend!

It’s almost necessary to be a science major if you are diabetic. There are so many variables with the food choices! The more fiber food has, the more desirable it is even if there is sugar in it. The fiber counts in the plus column and overrides the sugar. Protein works the same way. If I have enough protein next to the sugar, it counteracts it. Ah – I think I’ve got it! In other words, even though an apple has natural sugars, it also has enough fiber to make the sugars “legal”.

The humble apple is often overlooked as a snack for diabetics, as are other fruits. According to my doctor, grapes are probably the worst fruit to eat for a snack, but she says apples are one of the best. So I try to eat an apple a day. I actually told my doctor I was going to eat an apple a day in an effort to keep her away. Strangely, she did not take offense to my comment. Hmm…

Obviously, I will not recommend that diabetics eat apple pie, but hey, get real – we’re all thinking it, aren’t we? This is one of my favorite sugar-free apple pie recipes.

I always use the most cinnamon possible because I like a more spicy apple pie. As I watched that recipe on YouTube, guess what it made me want to do? Yep – I’m gonna have to make it!

Here’s one last video – this guy can eat the whole apple in one bite! Seriously – do NOT try this. It looks painful! :-/