NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

TL MAY IS NATIONAL MEDITERRANEAN DIET MONTH

Isn’t it interesting that the words MEDICINE and MEDITERRANEAN both begin with the letters MED?  What exactly is a Mediterranean Diet?  Most of us have been exposed to some aspects of it, but few of us have embraced it completely.  One of our favorite restaurants serves an appetizer called hummus.  It’s made with chick peas, of all things!  Even five years ago we had not heard of it – but today, hummus is a popular snack here in America.

There are many Mediterranean dishes that are becoming more popular in America as time passes.  Most recipes feature olives, olive oil and bright, vibrant vegetables.  They not only look healthy – they are healthy!

This month you are invited to join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #MedDietMonth.  Follow @OldwaysPT on Twitter to join the party on May 19th at 1 pm ET.

Here’s one of my favorite facebook pages, it’s filled with great snack ideas that won’t wreck your diet plan.

https://www.facebook.com/mediterranean.snacks/?fref=ts

I love food posts because that means I get to share a wonderful recipe with you!  If you have never cooked anything Mediterranean before, this is a perfect starting point.  It’s not only pretty, but tastes great too!

CONFETTI COUSCOUS (makes 4 servings – 3 1/2 WW points per serving)

Ingredients:

2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth

1 c. whole wheat couscous

2 Tbs. golden raisins

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. slivered almonds

1/4 c. fine chopped red bell pepper

2 Tbs. dried cranberries

1/4 c. sliced scallions

1/4 c. chopped dried apricots

3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in couscous, raisins, cumin and salt.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes or until couscous is soft.  Uncover and fluff with fork and let cool 10 minutes.

Cook almonds in skillet over medium heat, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Stir almonds, bell pepper, cranberries, scallions, apricots, mint, oil, lemon juice, ginger and garlic into couscous.

This is a wonderful side dish with baked chicken or fish.  It really does look like confetti in a bowl – almost too pretty to eat.  I did say…  almost.  😉

 

 

 

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NATIONAL PECAN MONTH

NATIONAL PECAN MONTHWhen I think of pecans, my mind goes to our Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, KS.  There’s one building in particular that smells positively divine from the moment you enter – with the scent of warm candied pecans!  To be honest, that is my favorite way to eat pecans!

To me pecans taste like childhood,
They fell from the family tree.
Sticky leaves, crackling branch wood
Hulling and cracking, we three—
Siblings, nuts in varied degree.
– Terri Guillemets

Pecans pack a punch with dense calories and high fat, but as we all know by now, it’s the good kind of fat.  Just one ounce is a hefty 104 calories!  That’s a point and a half if you’re counting points like me.

The apples and pears in the grocery store look especially good right now.  This recipe for Apple-Pear Crisp is a real crowd pleaser at potluck dinners.  I leave the peel on the fruit, but you can peel it if you want to.  🙂

Apple-Pear Crisp (makes 9 servings, 5 points per serving)

Ingredients: filling

Cooking spray

1 lb. Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1″ thick slices

1 lb. Bartlett pears, cored, cut into 1″ thick slices

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

4 Tbs. Splenda brown sugar

Ingredients: topping

1 large egg

6 Tbs. Splenda brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 c. uncooked rolled oats

6 Tbs. butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place fruit slices in medium bowl.  Toss with lemon juice and Splenda.  Set aside.

To make topping – in another medium bowl, beat egg.  Add Splenda, salt and cinnamon.  Mix to combine.  Add oats and mix well.

Spoon fruit into prepared baking dish and evenly sprinkle oat mix on top; drizzle with melted butter.  Bake until fruit starts to bubble and topping starts to brown, about 45-50 minutes.

Allow crisp to cool for a minimum of 2 hours.  Cut into 9 pieces.

Enjoy!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (24)

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Some folks go on diets to get a summer-ready body for the beach.  Others want to lose weight to get into a dress for a special occasion.  My reasons for dieting?  I either have to lose weight or spend hundreds of dollars every month on insulin.

I was sitting in my recliner watching TV and saw Marie Osmond talking about Nutrisystem.  No, I’m not going to do that – although that’s where my train of thought started.  I said to myself, half jokingly – “Well, I suppose I could pay those hundreds of dollars to Nutrisystem instead of the pharmacy – and eventually not have to take insulin anymore – when I get to my goal weight.”

The seed was planted in my brain – and something just snapped inside.  From that moment, I felt a determination to get healthy like I’ve never felt before.  I don’t want to have to take those shots anymore – I really don’t.

When I was in high school – in the late 1970’s – I kept my weight in check with the Weight Watcher’s points.  Nobody wants to be the big girl in high school, and thanks to this program, I was able to stay at 125-130 pounds.  I counted and wrote down every morsel of food I put in my mouth.  I never ate more than 20 points a day.

I was much more active back then, obviously.  Today I ride my recumbent bike for 30 minutes every day.  According to the chart online, it will take 35 weeks to get to my goal weight of 125 pounds.  I’m ready and very excited to embark on this adventure.  I’m ready to get more healthy and be a controlled type 2 diabetic, but controlled with diet & exercise instead of pills and shots.

What’s your favorite Weight Watchers recipe?  Please leave it in the comments section.  I’m very interested in collecting them but I’m too cheap to buy a cookbook.  Here’s one we made last night for supper – and it was pretty good!

Weight Watchers Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 10 ounces lean boneless beef loin, cut into 1/2″ strips
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups small whole white mushrooms, woody ends removed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon reduced-calorie tub margarine
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, to garnish

Directions

In large pot of boiling water, cook noodles 5-6 minutes, until tender; drain, discarding liquid. Set aside; keep warm.

In medium nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove beef from skillet. Wipe skillet clean; set beef aside.

Spray same skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat. Add onions; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 7 minutes, until golden brown. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove vegetables from skillet. Wipe skillet clean; set vegetables aside.

In same skillet, melt margarine; sprinkle with flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling. Continuing to stir, gradually add broth, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Stir in sour cream.

Return cooked beef, onions and mushrooms to skillet; stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is heated through.

Divide warm noodles evenly among 4 plates; top each portion of noodles with one-fourth of the beef mixture. Serve garnished with parsley.

I’d appreciate your good vibes and prayers as I begin week #2 of this journey!  If you’d like to talk more about healthy eating (and sometimes eat some virtual chocolate) – come on over and join my group on facebook – A Second Helping of Wellness… with a dash of humor & a pinch of faith.

See ya there!  🙂