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Foodies: Have you tried Coconut Vinegar?

Monday, November 01, 2010

I was reading the December issue of Prevention magazine yesterday and came across and short article titled: "Crazy for Coconut (Vinegar)."

Yes, I am crazy for coconut...but I have never even heard of Coconut Vinegar before. What is it? Where does it come from? Where can I find it to purchase?

The article went on to say that it can boost the nutrients in a dish and give it an exotic flair.

Use it in a marinade, curry or soup.

"It's a staple of Filipino cuisine, coconut vinegar is made from the sap of the tree, rather than the nut itself, so it doesn't taste like something that belongs in a pina colada. Rather, it's a milder and less acidic vinegar that delivers essential B vitamins and amino acids."

Suggested Ways to use Coconut Vinegar:
Use in Vinaigrettes instead of Red wine or balsamic vinegar.
Use in Sweet-and-sour sauce instead of Apple cider vinegar.
Use in Stir-fries instead of Rice wine vinegar.
Use in Pad Thai instead of White wine vinegar.

I will be looking for this the next time I am shopping in the market place.
Sounds intriguing! I love to try new foods!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REEDSKI 11/5/2010 6:48PM

    It'll probably start showing up in stores now.

I love coconut, too. So does my mom.
I will never forget the time I went to Louisville, KY, with a friend. Her sister and brother-in-law took us to Benihana's of Tokoyo. I ordered a chi-chi. I was 19. Can you believe it ws legal for us to drink at that age? Outrageous. It was sooooo good. I have never had one since but I will never forget it. It had coconut in it!

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THINRONNA 11/5/2010 10:58AM

    Sounds neat! Seeing how things like peanut butter and Oreo cookies are new here it will probably be decades until we get something like that though! I would check the internet if I were you.

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CARRENK 11/3/2010 10:56PM

    I've never heard of it - I'll have to look for it in the Asian market by my place!

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WOMANCHEF 11/2/2010 7:42AM

    I've never heard of it either. I'm going to check out some of our latin and asian markets and see if I can find it.

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EMAVERICK 11/1/2010 10:56PM

    Interesting! Another food I never knew existed before. Thanks for sharing the info, and of course tell everybody what it's like if you do find it :)

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DIANA_IS_BACK 11/1/2010 4:42PM

    sounds intriguing! I will be looking for it.

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SHELLEY147 11/1/2010 4:27PM

    sounds wonderful..I love, love, love coconut! Thanks for telling us about it! :)

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ROSEWCI 11/1/2010 4:00PM

    Sounds interesting! I will look for it at the farmer's market my next visit! Thanks for sharing Maria!

Happy November! emoticon

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PETUNIAPIG 11/1/2010 3:04PM

    Huh - I've been to a lot of foodie supermarkets and never heard of coconut vineager. I'll be on the look-out!

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WINFIELD28 11/1/2010 3:00PM

    Here's bit more information I just found online:

Natural Coconut Vinegar is rich in Vitamins and alkalising minerals like Potassium, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous and Sodium and also contains anti-oxidants which makes this natural food such a great part of your diet for the benefits it provides. This humble food which is inexpensive and adds life to your gourmet foods actually nourishes you with its goodness as well.

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SUMMERSMILES1 11/1/2010 2:56PM

    I have never heard of Coconut Vinegar. If you find it please post on SP so I and others can try it as well. I'll look for it too.

Thanks for letting us know.

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Drink Water Before Each Meal and Lose Weight, during the Holidays? Where do I sign up?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I was reading the December issue of Prevention magazine today.

I ran across a short article in the "News & Trends" section that made me stop, read it and take notice.

I thought it was worth sharing with all of my Spark Friends.

And as we enter the holiday season and are starting to get concerned about how to survive the challenges we expect to encounter...a simple strategy would be most welcomed also!

15.5 Pounds!
That is the number of pounds that dieters lost over a 3 month period when they drank 2 cups of water before meals. (44% increase in weight loss, compared with those who did not drink water before their meals.)

Obviously, it helps to shrink your appetite so that you consume fewer calories.

Well, atleast that's what these researchers say. The researchers are from Virginia Tech University.

Since I need to drink 8 (8 ounce) glasses of water each day anyway... what do I have to lose if I drink 2 before breakfast, 2 before lunch and 2 before dinner?
(I can squeeze the other 2 in somewhere!)

So what DO I have to lose if I just try this?

It doesn't have to be 15.5 pounds in 3 months!

Maybe just some weight over the holidays!

And it'll be another way to make sure that I am drinking my water!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 11/5/2010 11:00AM

    I have heard that too about drinking water. I think it is a great idea! I think that if you are thirsty sometimes you think you are hungry and eat more.

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CARRENK 11/1/2010 9:26AM

    I've heard varying opinions on this, but in the end, it can't hurt, and it certainly can help. I just filled my water bottle!

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MYSTERY4EVER 10/31/2010 7:49PM

    I have been drinking a glass before most lunches and dinners. I'll have to up it to two!

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BIGMAMAT 10/31/2010 6:51PM

    Yay! Maria! Thanks for sharing! I think I'll try this too! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/31/2010 6:53:02 PM

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ROSEWCI 10/31/2010 6:45PM

    Wow Maria! LOVE the strategy! I do believe the water tricks the brain into thinking that you're "full" too. Regardless & for whatever works! I find if I just sip on the water all day, I keep hydrated & it keeps the grumbellies to a minimum.

Thanks for the info! emoticon Rose

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Recipe: Healthy Oven Baked French Fries with Spices

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I was in the mood for some 'fries' with my burger tonight.

I was looking for something with a little something "extra!"

This version of Oven Fries uses several spices to "up" the flavor factor.

And they are made with heart healthy olive oil.

The recipe does not include salt - but you can add that to your personal taste, if you desire.

Makes 1 Large Serving!


Oven Baked French Fries

1 Large Baking Potato (actually, any type of potato will work here)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
(Salt, optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut potato into wedges. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder together. Coat potatoes with the oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet.

3. Bake for 45 minutes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMAVERICK 11/3/2010 12:04AM

    I hear that soaking the potatoes in water for a while after cooking helps them crisp up in the oven. I haven't tried it yet though.

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    Yum Yum! I love french fries!! I am totally stealing this one.. looks easy enough for me to actually make!

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MYSTERY4EVER 10/31/2010 7:53PM

    Thanks for posting. I have been doing something similar with just pepper and garlic powder, but will try this.

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CARRENK 10/31/2010 3:04PM

    Yum, yum. I love fries made in the oven. I'll bet this would be good with sweet potatoes, too!

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THINRONNA 10/31/2010 5:25AM

    I've been seeing a few recipes like this around for Halloween...they make the potatoes look like claws or fingers and have them poking out of a cup! Your recipe looks tasty!

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SHELLEY147 10/30/2010 9:23PM

    Great recipe! Gives me something to try one night this week, thanks!! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/30/2010 9:05PM

    Oh my, Maria! These sound yummy! I've had spicey fries before...& they were delish! Love the zing to the taste buds! Thanks for the recipe!

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LADYPIPPIE 10/30/2010 8:51PM

    Thanks for posting this recipe.

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KAYE454 10/30/2010 8:34PM

  SounDs great will have to try thanks

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Healthy Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates, Yum!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates, Yum!

I am on a quest to find some recipes for semi-healthy holiday sweet treats this year.

I came across one that I am definitely going to be making this year – once I get some more of my beloved Medjool dates!

It’s called: Israeli Stuffed Dates.

It’s a chocolate covered, nut-filled date candy. The recipe came from Yemen.

It says it’s easy (sure looks very easy as I read through the list of ingredients and the directions) and it says it’s delicious!
That’s a given, I’m counting on it to be delicious!

Great, another easy, semi-healthy recipe to add to my collection of Holiday Recipes!

Israeli Stuffed Dates

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
25 pitted Medjood dates
12 pecan halves
2 Tablespoons of sweetened shredded coconut (optional)

1. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until almost melted. Stir until smooth.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Stuff each date with a pecan half and place onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the stuffed dates with melted chocolate, then sprinkle with coconut. Place into freezer, and freeze for 1 hour before serving.

Makes 25 Servings.
Calories: 75
Fat: 3.2g
Sodium: 2mg
Carbs,: 11.5g
Fiber: 1.4g
Protein: 0.8g

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 10/30/2010 11:20AM

    Sounds yummy! emoticon

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THINRONNA 10/30/2010 3:46AM

    This sounds like a yummy treat! I love dates and coconut and have stuffed them with nuts but have never thought of adding chocolate to the mix but why not! Chocolate does make most things better! Have you tried them yet? Maybe I'll look for dates at the store would be a good alternative to Halloween candy for me!

Thanks for the good idea! emoticon

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    i've never had dates, but will everything this recipe has, it would be fun to today! I may save this for a work potluck coming up!

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My Story: How did I End Up at Spark People Anyway???

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Story: How did I End Up at Spark People Anyway???

I had a new Spark Friend ask me to tell her more about myself and my journey.
As I wrote my reply to her, I had to sit back and just go through in my mind when and how this Journey all got started.
I will share those thoughts here today, as they have helped me understand and put it all into better perspective.
It’s a journal entry that is shedding some light on various issues for me.

Here’s a bit about me & my journey. I’m married (22 years), a Mom to one daughter in college (20). I worked in business for 31 years (28+ in banking) left my job at the end of last year and gained 27 pounds from January to June, 2010 on an already overweight body. I like to cook and bake and want to find a way to continue to do so but in a healthier manner.

I have struggled with weight issues for as long as I can remember. I went on my first diet when I was 16. I weighed 150 pounds (5’6”) and thought I was overweight – based on all my shorter, skinny friends. I thought 125 sounded like what I should weigh – so I went on a diet that summer. I lost 15 pounds – not 25 and thought I was a failure…can you see how we get sucked into believing there’s something wrong with us at such a young age and we can’t shake loose of it? From that point on, I gained weight. I sure wish I weighed 150 right now! LOL!

My Mom was a chronic dieter. She belonged to TOPS and Weight Watchers…so that’s where I got the idea I needed to diet and that 125 should be my goal…because that was her goal (she’s only 5’2”). How unrealistic was that?

Yes, Weight Watchers was a good program. I lost 80 pounds on it when I was 19 -21 years old. It was a diet. I thought I had to diet to lose weight. I have thought that most of my adult life.

Until I got to age 45. I said to myself “enough dieting, I’m not doing this anymore!” “If dieting doesn’t work? What does?” I always thought if I could just eat like a thin person I’d get thin.

I started by walking…I bought a pedometer (Digi Walker SW-200) that just counts steps. I really researched which one to buy. I wanted a simple step counter that was VERY accurate. I started using it and discovered that I was walking 4,000 to 4,500 steps a day (real shocker!).

My goal was to get to 10,000 steps a day. I had read that people who count steps move more than people who exercise for 30 minutes a day. I since have determined that is true! 10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles.

As I focused more on increasing my steps…I found I was eating less, making better choice in foods. The weight started to drop. I went from 200 pounds to 155 in about a year. And I wasn’t dieting. I thought this was the way to go! I felt so good!

Then for whatever reason…I wasn’t walking as much, I started eating more and not focusing on my choices. I lost the magic! I realize now there is no magic. I need to stay aware of what I am doing.

So here I am, using those tools that helped me on that leg of my journey.
But I also realizing after talking to my doctor that I need a program that helps keep me more accountable.
He suggested Weight Watchers…I told him that I think DIET when I hear Weight Watchers.

I had read about Spark People. So I came to the website on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. I had been to the doctor on Friday, June 11th – had a nephew’s wedding on the 12th – started to be aware of what I was eating and started walking again on Monday, June 14th. I also weighed myself that day. Since that day I have lost about 25 pounds.

I eat healthy foods that I want to eat. I use the calorie range Spark People has given me. But I choose the foods.
Do I eat perfectly? No – there’s no such thing. I do eat better and well.

I exercise almost (I schedule 6 days a week with Sunday off – but still want to reach 10,000 steps) everyday for about 60 minutes. I walked outdoors during the summer.
Some days for 60 minutes at a time, other days 20 minutes 3 times a day… I tend to break it up.
I live in Minnesota so I needed to find a plan I could use indoors for the winter months. I am using Leslie Sansone’s Walk Slim and right now am using 3 Fast Miles. It’s 45 minutes. I add additional walking or yoga to it.

I’m not breaking any records here, but I am moving forward slowly and surely. It doesn’t feel like a diet. I do have to motivate myself to exercise. But I am always glad when I do because I do feel good. I’m trying to take it a day at a time.

And, yes, I pray about it – everyday.

And my Spark Friends are an awesome help to me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUESKY43 9/28/2011 10:09AM

  You are an inspiration!

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THINRONNA 10/30/2010 4:01AM

    Thank you for sharing your story with us Maria! I think it is hard for women in America's culture. Young girls so often talk about being fat and compare themselves to those on TV and magazines. I am sorry that when you were young and perfectly healthy that you were given this impression. It is a great reminder to me to take care around my daughter when discussing weight, weight loss and health.

I think it is wonderful that you found the healthy answer at 45! I love your thoughts on eating like a thin person! Often times people think thin people eat anything they want and are just naturally thin! Not true! (especially for those of us over 22) Exercise really is the key isn't it? Not only does it help shed the pounds it makes us feel so much better.

You have a wonderful outlook on how to live this life of ours in a healthy and enjoyable way...eating what you want but in a sensible fashion and not beating yourself up if you are not perfect about it. We can all learn something from you Maria! I know I often do!

I am so very glad that you found Spark People and that I found you! emoticon

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REEDSKI 10/29/2010 2:45PM

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your story! I'm so glad you found SP. I feel very fortunate to have you as a SparkFriend!

I am only 5'3" and I thought I was fat when I was 120. Why did I think that? I weighed 165 when I was 9 months pregnant with my son. Now, I am dreaming of being 165! I know it will happen by May. Sooner if I break this plateau and start weighing my food again. I'm just glad I'm exercising and eating healthier at this point. I know I'll get to 165 soon and then continue to lose until I get to 135 or 140. I'll see which weight I can be where I feel comfortable and still get to eat!!! Maybe it will be 150 because I really do like food.

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ROSEWCI 10/28/2010 6:52PM

    emoticon Maria, for sharing your life journey w/us! You're such a remarkable woman! You've taken a hold of "lifestyle changes" & made it your own! You've executed a well thought out plan for nutrition & fitness! Congratulations on your most recent success...& I have NO doubt you will meet & exceed attaining all your goals! You are doing a fabulous job, my friend! You're going ALL the way!

emoticon Rose

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COOKWITHME65 10/28/2010 5:25PM

    You are doing fantastic! 60 minutes a day of walking is great. I'm probably only doing 30 minutes. I gotta step it up. emoticon

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BIGMAMAT 10/28/2010 4:42PM

    Maria, thanks for sharing your story!
1. Leslie sansone is awesome.
2. congratulations on your 25 pounds lost!
3. I join you in the whole "its not a diet" thought process.
4. and most importantly, Love it that you pray daily!!!! That is the secret of your success for sure! emoticon

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ONICAM 10/28/2010 12:07PM

    I really didn't know how I here either. It is sometimes intersting. In my case I somehow got an email and never heard of them. The site did not let me see what it is before I joined so I had to and when I saw what it was I decided to stay with it since some of the areas that I need help with they had help out there.

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