TWOOFTHREE's SparkPeople Blog TWOOFTHREE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community eat TURNIPS Turnips come in a variety of forms, the most widely available being the squashed globe shape with creamy coloured skin and a purple crown (where the turnip grew above the surface of the ground and was exposed to sunlight). They have a rounded flavour - sweet and slightly peppery - and are nutritionally rich. <BR> <BR> Although available pretty much year-round we think there are two optimum times for turnip eating. The first is in early summer when fresh, tender, baby turnips are available. T... Wed, 1 Dec 2010 06:32:40 EST eat BRUSSELS SPROUTS Brussels sprouts are a somewhat divisive food, although most people who claim to hate them have probably been scarred by encounters with horrible overcooked monstrosities in their formative years. <BR> <BR> When prepared with a little care, sprouts are a wonderfully satisfying vegetable with a delicious, fresh, green flavour and just the right amount of crunch. They can be served simply as a side vegetable (perhaps with some chopped chestnuts or a sprinkling of sesame seeds), added to casser... Wed, 24 Nov 2010 09:17:46 EST Enough!. . . already Thanksgiving! <BR> <BR> It's been done to death by this site. Every 2nd sparkblog post, and every 3rd new article is all about Thanksgiving! <BR> <BR> Why make such a big deal?! That just makes things more stressful that they need to be. And stress cause you to gain weight!! <BR> <BR> Plus there are a good many users on this site, for whom it is not Thanksgiving. <BR> <BR> I realise that this is an american site, but still, why alienate the non-Americans by bleating on and on about Thanks... Tue, 23 Nov 2010 06:25:52 EST eat CHESTNUTS Chestnuts are shiny brown nuts whose thick casing has long, sharp, needle-like spikes (burrs). There are usually two to four nuts per casing. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts have a high starch and water content but low protein and fat levels. They've never been as popular in British kitchens as in Continental ones, but they're a versatile and flavourful storecupboard ingredient. Chestnuts are available fresh, ground, dried, puréed or vacuum-packed. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> Chestnuts trees h... Wed, 17 Nov 2010 03:14:54 EST eat SCALLOPS The quality of scallops from UK waters is frequently excellent: mild, sweet flavoured morsels with a satisfyingly firm, yet fine, texture are widely sold by quality fishmongers. <BR> <BR> European cuisine often matches scallops with robust ingredients such as bacon or watercress. We love them with Oriental flavours such as ginger, chilli or lemongrass. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> Archaeological findings show that scallops have been eaten by humans for thousands of years, although until the... Thu, 11 Nov 2010 07:23:31 EST eat PEARS Another wonderful autumn treat, pears come in a range of flavours and textures and can be enjoyed in many different ways (other than as a delicious snack on their own). Exceptional when poached with red wine and vanilla, they are also stunning with chocolate as in the classic French dessert Poires Belle Hélène (below). Alternatively try them in salads or add to an after-dinner cheese board; they go particularly well with Pecorino or Roquefort. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> The cultivation of ... Wed, 3 Nov 2010 06:01:16 EST eat SWEDE Larger than the turnip and with a rough skin that is partly tan and partly purple, the swede's unpolished appearance belies its fine texture and distinctive, sweet tasting flesh. <BR> <BR> When roast or mashed, swede makes a simple and tasty side dish. It can also be used to add interest to stews or in a variety of twists on mashed potato. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> The swede is thought to have originated in central Europe and has a relatively short culinary history compared with many veg... Wed, 27 Oct 2010 04:42:13 EST eat FIGS Figs make very attractive starters (e.g. served with Parma or Serrano ham) and delicious desserts. Try them drizzled with honey and your choice of cinnamon, thyme and pistachios, then roasted and served with a dollop of mascarpone or crème fraiche. And they're a great addition to an after-dinner cheese board. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> Thought to be indigenous to western Asia, the selection and cultivation of figs began in remote antiquity. Stone tablets dating back over 4,000 years record... Wed, 20 Oct 2010 04:10:53 EST eat KALE Kale is a very handy ingredient for seasonal eaters as it is one of the few green vegetables that is more abundant and flavourful during the coldest months of the year. It can be substituted for cabbage or spinach and makes a fine side dish when blanched and sautéed with garlic (a little soy and a sprinkling of chopped, roasted nuts is a lovely addition). It also makes an excellent ingredient in hearty, warming soups such as Scotch Broth and the traditional Portuguese dish Caldo Verde. <BR> ... Wed, 13 Oct 2010 05:01:22 EST eat BUTTERNUT SQUASH Butternut squash is one of the most popular and widely available forms of winter squash. Varying in shape from cylindrical to half-dumbell, its smooth tan exterior hides deliciously sweet, dense and buttery orange flesh. <BR> <BR> The adaptability of the butternut squash is demonstrated by the wide variety of uses to which it is put in different countries. Across the globe it crops up in recipes for stews, gratins, pasta dishes, risottos, soups and curries. When baked and mashed, perhaps wit... Wed, 6 Oct 2010 05:07:23 EST eat OYSTERS Eating raw oysters is a uniquely invigorating experience; a bit like battery-licking for grown-ups. It seems that we can taste the elements they contain: zinc, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium. And no other food conjures up a physical feature of the Earth as strongly as a bracing, salty, tangy oyster: the essence of the sea in edible form. <BR> <BR> Oysters can now be obtained throughout the year but are usually better outside of their spawning period (when the waters are colder). <BR> <... Wed, 29 Sep 2010 04:35:15 EST eat APPLES You may need to look beyond the supermarket shelves to find them, but there's an exciting variety of apples from orchards - sharp apples, sweet apples, crunchy apples, softer-fleshed apples, red apples, yellow apples, green apples and everything in between. Many are perfect for enjoying on their own as a delicious, healthy, energy-boosting snack. And when used as an ingredient they can be transformed into some of THE great desserts, combining magically with flavours such as caramel, cinnamon ... Wed, 22 Sep 2010 05:33:40 EST eat GUINEA FOWL Guinea fowl makes a great alternative to chicken for a warming dinner on an autumn night. It has a lovely flavour that is slightly gamey but very subtle (much less assertive than pheasant or grouse). It can be magnificent when cooked simply or when combined with more robust flavours. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> The guinea fowl is native to West Africa and is known to have been a part of the diet of the ancient Egyptians. It appears in Roman mosaics but did not become widely eaten in Europe ... Wed, 15 Sep 2010 05:08:46 EST eat LEEKS Leeks are related to garlic and onions but have a much subtler, sweeter and more sophisticated flavour. They can be used to enrich soups or stews and they partner brilliantly with potato and with cheese to form tasty side-dishes and suppers that comfort and satisfy throughout the autumn and winter. <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as iron and fibre. They provide many of the health-giving benefits associated with garlic and onions, such as prom... Wed, 8 Sep 2010 05:14:01 EST eat PLUMS Plums come in many guises - tart or very sweet; for cooking or for eating; and in a range of rich hues from light greens and yellows to dark reds and purples. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> The oldest of the numerous plum varieties is thought to be Prunus salicina, known as Japanese plum although it was originally introduced to Japan from its native China. The European plum has been cultivated since ancient times and probably originated in central or south-eastern Europe. The Greeks imported ... Wed, 1 Sep 2010 05:51:52 EST eat MONKFISH With a succulent, firm texture and a fine, slightly sweet flavour, monkfish invites comparison with other 'luxury' seafoods such as lobster and scallops. Unfortunately monkfish has become so popular that there is now concern over stock levels. Full card-carrying ethical consumers may want to avoid monkfish altogether. <BR> <BR> It is a particularly versatile fish, well-suited to many different treatments. <BR> <BR> HISTORY <BR> <BR> Monkfish has long featured in regional dishes of the Iber... Wed, 18 Aug 2010 05:27:10 EST eat RUNNER BEANS Fresh, young runner beans are a gem amongst the many wonderful vegetables available during the summer. At their best they are at once tender, succulent and bursting with flavour. There can be few better ways of serving runner beans than piled onto a plate alongside meltingly soft roast lamb, roast potatoes and gravy. <BR> <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Runner beans are a good source of vitamin C, folic acid and fibre. <BR> <BR> TIPS <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> Look for pert well-coloured pods ... Sun, 15 Aug 2010 13:52:31 EST eat BLACKBERRIES The blackberry season spans the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and their usage can be adapted accordingly. During August we like to enjoy blackberries served simply with a little sugar and a lot of cream. They're also great muddled into a cold martini on a balmy evening. Later, we inure ourselves to the onset of autumn with deliciously comforting hot pies and puddings made by combining blackberries with the first apples of the season, to devastating effect. <BR> <BR> Blackberries ... Sun, 8 Aug 2010 07:01:58 EST eat BROAD BEANS We love broad beans simply boiled, buttered and served with the Sunday roast. They're also wonderful when partnered with bacon or pancetta. <BR> <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Broad beans are good sources of protein, fibre, vitamins A and C, potassium and iron. They also contain levodopa (L-dopa), a chemical the body uses to produce dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with the brain's reward and motivation system). <BR> TIPS <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> <BR> For the freshest broad beans tr... Wed, 28 Jul 2010 09:39:54 EST Eat ARTICHOKE The artichoke isn't a food to choose when you need a fast food fix. It's a slow food to linger over. Patience shown in preparation and eating is ultimately rewarded by the subtly flavoured leaves and the mouthwatering artichoke heart. You can serve artichoke as a dish in its own right, with a bowl of vinaigrette or lemon butter for dipping. <BR> <BR> OR you can use it as an ingredient, adding something special to a salad, pasta sauce or pizza topping. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> BIOLOGY <BR> <B... Mon, 19 Jul 2010 09:40:04 EST eat RABBIT Wild rabbit meat, which is leaner and tastier than the farmed variety, has a fabulous subtle, gamey flavour (very different from richly flavoured hare). It is available throughout the year but you're more likely to find the best sized rabbits from July to December. <BR> <BR> <BR> BIOLOGY <BR> <BR> The rabbit is a member of the family Leporidae, which includes the hare. Rabbits are gregarious and nocturnal animals that feed on grasses and herbaceous plants but will also eat bark when grass ... Wed, 14 Jul 2010 05:33:47 EST Eat RASPBERRIES Vividly pink, exquisitely perfumed and very delicate, fresh raspberries are a real summertime treat. <BR> <BR> Raspberries never fail to please when served with just a dusting of icing sugar and a lick of cream. A fresh raspberry sauce, made by pushing raspberries through a sieve and stirring in some sifted icing sugar, makes a wonderful addition to vanilla ice cream, apple juice, champagne, yoghurt, strawberries, cocktails, chocolate mousse, toast... <BR> <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> R... Wed, 14 Jul 2010 05:24:21 EST Eat Mackerel The mackerel isn't a delicately flavoured fish and its richness doesn't always lend itself well to a simple 'lemon and herbs' pairing. But given the right treatment (see PICK OF THE RECIPES) it is a fantastically moist, flavoursome fish that makes an inexpensive and very healthy meal. <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Health experts recommend eating at least one serving of oily fish, such as mackerel, each week. Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12. ... Wed, 7 Jul 2010 04:00:22 EST Eat courgettes (zucchini) Courgettes (known as zucchini to Italians and Americans) are beautifully tender vegetables with a fresh, delicate flavour. <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Courgettes have a high water content and are low in calories. They are a source of folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. <BR> <BR> TIPS <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> Smaller, younger courgettes have more flavour. Look for firm, heavy-feeling courgettes with unblemished bright and glossy skins. <BR> <BR> STORING <BR> Up to 5 days in a fridge. ... Mon, 14 Jun 2010 09:59:42 EST Eat aubergines (eggplant) The aubergine's subtle and distinctive combination of textures and flavours - smooth, fleshy, creamy, smoky - make it a versatile and beguiling component of many great dishes. <BR> <BR> NUTRITION <BR> <BR> Aubergines are a good source of fibre and folic acid. The colour of the skin is a result of the presence of anthocyanins - compounds with antioxidant properties. <BR> TIPS <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> Choose aubergines that feel heavy with smooth, taut, unblemished skin and fresh-looking unwith... Wed, 2 Jun 2010 05:17:42 EST Eat Strawberries Another food currently in season. <BR> Synonymous with summer, the season begins with the arrival of early season fruit grown under cover. <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> Look for berries that are unblemished and bright red with fresh-looking green leafy caps. The fruit should be not too firm and not too soft (there should be no dampness on the bottom of the container). The scent is an indicator of quality and smaller strawberries often have more flavour. Strawberries absorb water readily and so are b... Wed, 26 May 2010 09:42:26 EST Eat Spinach Spinach is available year-round, but the freshest, tenderest spinach is most easily obtainable in the spring. <BR> <BR> BUYING <BR> Spinach has a high water content and so reduces to around a quarter of its size when cooked. Buy lots. <BR> <BR> Pick dark green, thin-stemmed leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing. <BR> <BR> STORING <BR> Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for three to four days. <BR> <BR> PREPARING <BR> Give leaves a good wash in a sinkful of lukewarm water to remov... Wed, 19 May 2010 03:39:38 EST Numbers I've got this new gps gadget that for each bike ride or walk I do, it tells me how long it took, max/min speed, average speed, total climb, calories burnt and a graph showing elevation v time. And it plots out a map etc. <BR> <BR> I love it. Makes me want to walk and ride more. Mon, 17 May 2010 18:28:28 EST Eat Asparagus It's in season. <BR> <BR> Traditionally matched with hollandaise sauce, asparagus picked just a day or so ago (try your nearest farmers' market) requires minimal messing with. Enjoy it with a drizzle of olive oil, a twist of black pepper and perhaps a few shavings of Parmesan cheese. <BR> <BR> Asparagus contains more folic acid than any other vegetable. It also a source of fibre, potassium, vitamins A and C and glutathione, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. <... Wed, 12 May 2010 05:37:21 EST joke of the day <link> </link> <BR> <BR> get it? <BR> <BR> 2/3 <em>334</em> Tue, 27 Apr 2010 09:30:44 EST Progress So in the last 2 weeks, I've lost 3.8lbs of fat . . . gained 2lbs of muscle . . . and 0.2lbs of water. <BR> <BR> So the net loss is 1.6lbs. And the BF% is edging in the right direction. <BR> <BR> I am pleased. Fri, 23 Apr 2010 13:35:37 EST Stop moving the goal posts So SP keep tinkering with my calorie range (when I change certain details) and it keeps increasing. <BR> <BR> First I had to do between 1200 and 1550, then it moved to 1240 and 1600. Now it's 1270 and 1620. <BR> <BR> And that was from lowering my goal weight. Tue, 20 Apr 2010 13:47:45 EST Up the hill So I cycled into work again today. It felt easier than last week. That is good. <BR> Hopefully it'll just get easier and easier each time. <BR> <BR> So I got quite a lot of exercise as I also went to the gym after work. <BR> <BR> So tomorrow, I'm going to have a (sensible) high-calorie day. I think I've earned it. <BR> <BR> 2/3 Mon, 19 Apr 2010 16:54:57 EST Apples and pears Usually I'm a pear person . . . <BR> Apples are one of my least favourite fruits . . . right up there with oranges and grapes. <BR> <BR> But lately I've been on a mission to find a variety of apple that I like the taste of. So I've been trialling different types each week. <BR> <BR> So far I've tried Gala, Royal Gala, Cox, Braeburn, Cameo . . . and I liked the Cox ones best. The Braeburns were juicy; too juicy. <BR> <BR> I didn't expect to like the Cameos but they were actually quite nic... Sat, 17 Apr 2010 14:44:28 EST Setting goals I know it's important to have goals, and I have some. <BR> <BR> But it's good to have intermediate goals to help you along to the main ones. <BR> And it's probably good to treat yourself (not with bad food) as achieve these mini-goals. <BR> And this is where I fall short. <BR> <BR> I'm not that interested in the milestones. I just want to get to the destination. <BR> <BR> I guess my next mini-goal will be to bust the calorie limit (again) next Tuesday. <BR> <BR> <em>4</em> <BR> <BR>... Wed, 14 Apr 2010 07:06:50 EST Through the roof My calories were through the roof today! Woohoo! <BR> <BR> I went over by about 350 calories! . . . 33g of fat! . . . and 7g of protein! <BR> <BR> This is just the boost I need! <BR> <BR> 2/3 <BR> <BR> Mon, 12 Apr 2010 12:53:00 EST 50 questions Stole this from Brigitte: <BR> <BR> 1. Where were you born? on an island <BR> <BR> 2. How many siblings? 2 sisters <BR> <BR> 3. What was your dream job as a child? Engineer <BR> <BR> 4. What's your best childhood memory? so many good ones. <BR> <BR> 5. Are you still living in the city you were born? No <BR> <BR> 6. Where would you like to live when you retire? Caribbean <BR> <BR> 7. Are you an early bird or an owl ? Both, with a long nap somewhere in between. <BR> <BR> 8. What's your ... Fri, 9 Apr 2010 18:09:08 EST to blog or not to blog that is the question. Thu, 8 Apr 2010 15:29:28 EST Yippee I've shifted 2lbs in the last week! <BR> It's about time. I've been round and about 143 for over a month now. <BR> I think that perhaps I won't reach my goal until I start exercising. Who knows . . . <BR> <BR> I'll look into it. Mon, 15 Oct 2007 14:33:35 EST Full speed ahead After my wobble I'm firmly back on track now and so it's full speed ahead. I've shed those few lbs I gained and hope to keep shedding some more. <BR> <BR> This morning for the first time I looked at myself and saw progress. My stomach looked almost-kinda flat. Flatter than it has in ages. I was pleased . . . especially as I know it'll get even flatter. <BR> <BR> Va va va vooom! <BR> <BR> 2/3 Mon, 8 Oct 2007 16:52:14 EST getting back on track I had a bad few days leading up to and including the weekend of the 14th of September. <BR> <BR> I was adding grains - by trying oatmeal. But went on holiday and went a bit wild with all the free food. <BR> <BR> In all fairness, I didn't eat anything that was totally off-plan but did over-indulge on the SBD foods. <BR> <BR> On my return from holiday I was afraid to weigh-in. And I didn't. <BR> <BR> The whole of the past week I've been back on SBD - phase 2. I went back to the point where ... Sun, 23 Sep 2007 09:45:26 EST Victory on all fronts! Had oatmeal/porridge yesterday morning. And so begins the experiment with grains. <BR> <BR> I weighed in today and I'm down a lb. so only 8 more to go!! The stranger thing is I seem to have lost a whole inch off my waist in the 2 weeks since I last measured. For the first time in ages, my waist is under 30 inches. <BR> <BR> Also I tried on a pair of size 6 cords and they fit. They weren't even tight. <BR> <BR> Emotionally, I'm in such great spirits too. My new job is great. <BR> <BR> So ... Sun, 9 Sep 2007 03:47:19 EST Hmmm I've lost another lb this week. I've been averaging a lb a week lately. That's kinda slow, but it's better than stalling. I'm going to have to find away to incorporate more exercise into my schedule. <BR> <BR> Hmmmm. <BR> <BR> 2/3 Mon, 27 Aug 2007 05:33:31 EST august Well . . . I'm happily chugging along in Phase 2 of the SBD. I've lost 22lbs since starting with another 18 to go. <BR> I'm happy. <BR> I like the food I'm eating. I like that I'm fitting into smaller clothes. I'm not afraid to look at myself in the mirror anymore. <BR> I'm also motivating friends and family to do something about their own weight. <BR> <BR> It's going well. <BR> <BR> 2/3 Fri, 17 Aug 2007 09:10:34 EST 3 months later 3 months later and I'm back on Southbeach. Actually I went back on Southbeach towards the end of May. Since then I've lost 17lbs with my next weigh-in being tomorrow. <BR> <BR> This time I'm loving it. <BR> <BR> I'll try to write in this blog a bit more often. But I don't like writing very much. Sun, 15 Jul 2007 19:53:03 EST Switching to spark When I first joined sparkpeople (SP), I was on South Beach (SB) and was merely using SP as a resource to keep track of my calorie intake etc. for SB. <BR> <BR> But after 7 weeks on SB, and still not lost any weight, I'm becoming increasingly frustrated. So for the next 4 weeks or so, as a trial, I'm going to be doing it the Spark people way. Of course the SB way of eating only wholegrains and natural foods will still be with me but I'll have more flexibility and allow myself the things that ... Sat, 7 Apr 2007 05:21:39 EST