Saturday, April 24, 2010
We all know I love to cook. I try to share my recipes or the recipes I have found that will entice you to try new foods or ways of preparing them. Believe it or not there are many out there that do not cook or like to cook. My Spark Mail is always filled with questions on this and that. I am surprised at how many tell me they don’t know how to cook and are just learning. Well, now there is a new tool to play with here on Spark people.
I am so loving this new enhancement to our Nutrition Tracker. I have used my Nutrition Tracker ever since I put my Spark page together. Sssssssshhhhhhhhhh! I won’t say it took me 3 weeks before I finally did that though. If you have not read Spark Guy’s blog about it, here is the link:
There is so much we can do with our Nutrition Tracker…
SUNNYH99 is the one who taught me how to put my own recipe’s into the Recipe Calculator and I have been taking advantage of that ever since. Thanks Sunny!!!!!!!!!!!! How much simpler could it be to put your favorite recipes you make often into the Recipe Calculator and then in the future when you make them all you do is click on one button, the name of the recipe, add then just add it to that days menu.
Now when you go to your Nutrition Tracker you click on Add a Food and then the magic happens. I have been using the tab, Food Groupings where I would add things I ate with certain meals or certain salads I make and it is a breeze to add the foods to my tracker that way.
Wait till you start playing with and using the newest tab, the 4th tab- Recipes. You can now pull up on your Food Tracker your saved Favorite Recipes, Your Shared Recipes (your own recipes you have loaded into Spark Recipes), and Recipes You Have Reviewed.
All you have to do now is click on the dropdown box and all of those recipes populate, no more hunting for the recipes or trying to remember their names. It is so fast and simple.
There is no longer any excuse to say it is too time consuming to use your Food Tracker. I happen to think this is the best tool we have on here in Spark People. Load up the recipes you make the most. Start saving in your Favorites the Spark Recipes you make often. Start reviewing these recipes and it brings those into another box.
I will admit that it is time consuming to add in your own recipes but it is so worth it. You want to stay on your journey to a healthier You; well you have to make foods that taste good to keep you on it. You can eat well, not feel deprived or bored if you take the extra time to create these foods for you. Yes we should be eating to fuel our bodies but who says it can’t taste great at the same time.
You are really worth it to take the time to utilize this great new tool and you will thank yourself later on for doing so. I just love it!
OK so let's try this link:
Friday, April 23, 2010
This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Spinach is loaded with lutein. It’s a carotenoid found in spinach that is protective against eye diseases such as age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. The Lutein in spinach might be absorbed better if you eat it with a little fat, such as a small amount of olive oil, or the food that you’re eating it with contains some fat.
A carotenoid found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables fights human prostate cancer two different ways, according to research published in the the Journal of Nutrition. The carotenoid, called neoxanthin, not only induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, but is converted in the intestines into additional compounds, called neochromes, which put prostate cancer cells into a state of stasis, thus preventing their replication.
The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role. For example, asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that involve inflammation.
Vitamin E-rich Leafy Greens Slow Loss of Mental Function
Mental performance normally declines with age, but the results of Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that eating just 3 servings of green leafy, yellow and cruciferous vegetables each day could slow this decline by 40%, suggests a study in the journal Neurology.
Spinach contains choline and inositol, the substances that help to prevent atherosclerosis or thickening and hardening of arteries.
Spinach is also helpful in the following health issues : Anemia, Tumors, Constipation, Insomnia, Obesity, Neuritis (inflammation of nerves), Nerve exhaustion, High blood pressure, Bronchitis, Colon cancer, Prostate cancer, Breast cancer, Osteoporosis, Dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), Also helps ailment of the kidneys, bladder and liver.
Spinach salad with Strawberries and Pecans
8 ounces fresh torn spinach or baby spinach
1 1/2 to 2 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional
1/4 cup Canola oil or Olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
dash dry mustard
Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using.
Combine dressing ingredients in a jar; shake until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.
Serves 4 to 6.
Potato and Spinach Soup With Lemon
By Anastatia Curley
The potatoes and parsnips give this soup body, and the spinach and lemon make it bright. It's sustaining, yet light and exciting.
Spinach and Pasta Soup
1 pound of turkey sausage
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 28 oz can of chopped or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 quart of chicken broth
3 quarts of water
1 pound of farfalle(bow tie pasta) or favorite small pasta
1 10 oz. pkg. of frozen spinach
2 15 oz. cans of small whit beans or canneloni beans
Heat an extra-large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it up with a spoon. Add the onion and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the spoon. Stir in the stock and 1 quart of the water, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Then add spinach, beans, and remaining quart of water (add extra water, if needed), and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until spinach is tender. Add salt to taste.
Number of Servings: 12
(this recipe I put into Spark Recipes so it can be put into my Fodd Tracker)
Crustless Spinach Quiche
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Vegan Spinach Linguine with Mushroom and Pepper Sauce
spinach linguine, enough for 2 people
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 small box mushrooms
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium jar spaghetti sauce
Wash and slice mushrooms. Cut peppers into 1/2 strips. Heat oil in pan. Add mushrooms and peppers. Stir fry over medium heat until peppers are wilted. Pour sauce over all and heat through. Put spaghetti on plate and spoon sauce over it. You can be very versatile with this recipe. You can use garlic and onion. You could also add a yellow pepper to make this very colorful. Serves 2.
Lentils & Spinach
1 bunch spinach, washed, drained and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
1/2 cup chili peppers chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
sea salt to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
Heat oil in a pan. Sauté crushed garlic, ginger & peppers for one minute.
Add chopped spinach. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Add cooked lentils, salt to taste and lemon juice. Cook and stir about 30 seconds
Serve on a bed of rice.
Chana Masala (Spicy Chickpeas) with Spinach
1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
juice from one lemon, (approx 2 tbsp )
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed
In a large skillet or frying pan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if needed, until chickpeas are cooked and soft.
Bay Scallops with Spinach
3 lbs of fresh spinach, stemmed and washed, not dried.
1 lb of bay scallops.
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled.
¼ cup of white wine.
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
2 teaspoons of olive oil.
2 teaspoons of salt.
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 20 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add the spinach and toss occasionally until wilted.
Drain off the liquid and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the scallops and sauté for 1 minute or until just cooked through.
Remove the scallops from the pan and add the lemon juice and wine.
Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 15 seconds.
Remove from the heat, then toss in the scallops and season with the remaining salt and pepper to taste.
On serving plates, place a mound of spinach in the middle and surround with scallops.
Different combos for Spinach Smoothies:
handful of spinach
1 1/2 cups of fresh pineapple
2 cups of water
One package of fresh baby spinach
One frozen banana
One cup of frozen blueberries
½ cup of frozen strawberries
One cup water
Creamy Tropical Green Smoothie
1 large banana, ripe and peeled
1/4 avocado flesh
6 oz spinach, fresh
3/4 cup pineapple, frozen
3/4 cup mango, frozen
4 ice cubes
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder
1 packet of stevia (optional)
1 1/2 cup pure water
Pour water in first. Then place the banana and avocado closest to the blade with the rest of the ingredients on top. Blend until smooth.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Today is Earth Day. We are all here on a healthier quest for our bodies. Don't we want the same thing for Earth? A carbon footprint is defined as: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Have you ever stopped to think about the impact on the earth by using those plastic bags instead of reusable canvass bags. You as just one individual/family have the potential to replace some of the estimated 1,000 plastic bags that each family brings home every year by using reusable canvass bags. Multiply that by everyone in the United States and that is impressive.
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags the US uses per year. If we all stopped using them just think how much the cost of gas would come down.
The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas, both non-renewable resources that increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. Additionally, prospecting and drilling for these resources contributes to the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems around the world.
A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose.
According to the Wall Street Journal, only 1% of plastic bags are recycled world-wide.
According to the British Antarctic Survey, discarded plastic bags have been found as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as The Falkland Islands.
An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles, whales, and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks. Discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed, plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to an agonizing death.
Ireland, the first European country to impose a tax on them, has decreased plastic shopping bag consumption by 90% since 2002, reducing overall plastic bag usage by 1.08 billion.
In the past five years, over a dozen countries have banned or put a tax on disposable bags.
Why hasn't the United States? Sure some stores give you 5 cents back for using one but we really need to ban them. People have had years to get used to using the canvass bags.
What else can you do to help save the environment:
Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
Recycle printer cartridges.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
Insulate your home as best as you can. Install weather stripping around all doors and windows.
Plant trees to shade your home.
Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
I could go on and on. there are so many ways we can be green and reduce our carbon footprints. I think the reasons above are painless and will also help us save money. We are all here in a journey to become healthier. So I will ask again don't we want the same for our planet?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
—L. Thomas Holdcraft
RunToMyDreams wrote a blog yesterday entitled, “ Accent the Positive and Eliminate the Negative. She is always positive and I really admire her for that. All of us here on Spark People really need to accent the Positive in order for us to reach out goals.
It real got me to thinking and I felt the need to blog about it as well. I think it is so important for all of us to remain positive, to live in the present, and not dwell on the past.
Life is an experience . Everyday the scenario changes up. Circumstances change through out the day and we are faced with choices as to how we are going to handle it. You get to choose how you react. You can look at every situation in one of two ways, it is either good or bad. It is how we choose to respond to those circumstances that will determine our success on our journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that is conductive of our growth and success. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects it finds.
Negative thinking is enemy of our new healthier and victorious life. Our mind is a powerful thing. Our thoughts can make or break our life. Negative thoughts will distract your focus from the important and drain your energy.
Balancing positivity vs negativity is the difference between victory and defeat.
If something “bad” happens to us we can either choose to see it as something that is polishing us up to make us stronger, more successful, and our lives better or we can choose to accept defeat, wallow in it, and have a grand ole pity party.
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