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Monthly Archives: January 2013

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I ran this through Master Cook to get calories and such. This is higher on calories, but it is full of healthy stuff so it would be pretty filling! She says it makes 6 servings. If you do it as 6-servings, the calorie count is 444 per serving and 10g Fat (19.9% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 48mg Cholesterol; 1629mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat. If you made the portion size smaller and ate this in addition to something, you need to watch it! But this seems pretty hearty and delicious!

Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

2013 – Gluten Free Living

This is a very tasty and hearty chicken chowder with lots chick peas, black beans, corn, carrots, onions, leeks, potatoes and spinach. It’s seasoned with parsley, thyme, and sage instead of the usual cumin, chilies, jalapenos, or cilantro. I call it southwestern because I added black beans and corn along with the garbanzo beans.

Last week I tried out a delicious new soup recipe with chicken, chick peas, and potatoes, along with many other veggies. I made a few improvements but I wanted to make another batch with some significant differences–black beans and corn–yet, I didn’t want to add cumin, chili powder or a lot of hot spices because we were having small children for dinner who don’t like spicy food. Additionally, I’m not a huge cumin fan so I wanted a way to make a southwestern style soup or chowder without the typical seasonings…

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EXPLAINED: Why We Crave The Foods We Crave

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I found this on the Huffington Post.

EXPLAINED: Why We Crave The Foods We Crave

First Posted: 09/14/2011 8:23 am Updated: 11/14/2011 4:12 am

By Ashley Neglia for

It happens when you least expect it — driving in the car, flipping through a magazine at your desk, catching up on the latest episode of “Jersey Shore.” Out of nowhere, it strikes. Boom.

Enter, the craving.

That intense, I-want-no-I-NEED-sugar-fat-right-NOW feeling grips you like an iron maiden, peeling away the willpower that keeps your sweet tooth in check all day. But no matter how valiant your efforts or worthy your cause, eventually, you break.

We’ve all caved into one craving or another, making a beeline for the fattiest, sweetest, most caloric food within reach. And then, naturally, in floods the guilt.

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What’s the Deal?

Before you hang your head and curse your lack of willpower, new research shows that giving into the craving may not be due to a crack in our resolve after all: We may be evolutionarily hardwired to crave high-caloric foods. In other words, you can blame our prehistoric ancestors (we’re looking at you, Lucy, for genetically predisposing us to seek out fatty foods to quell hunger).

“In prehistory, calories were in intermittent supply and very essential for survival,” explains Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Tufts University and author of “The ‘I’ Diet” book and program. “So it makes sense to have a mechanism to ensure that we really love calories and are willing to work to get them!”

In Fred Flintstone’s prehistoric era, high-caloric food was in high demand and in short supply. Unlike readily available, yet low-calorie plant-based foods, it took some doing to reign in a hefty dose of fat and calories, which usually came in the form of meat.

So when good old Fred (or hey, Wilma, too) had a successful hunting party, the brain responded to the sudden caloric-upsurge by flooding the body with the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin. This deluge of happy hormones created an almost Pavlovian effect, linking high-fat, high-caloric foods with rewarding feelings of happiness and contentment. A match was made.

“Our earlier ancestors were hard-wired to search for sugar, fat and protein,” says Anthony Salerno, a marketing doctoral student who researches survival instincts at the University of Miami. “It was adaptive at that time because of their rarity, but fast forward to 2011 and it’s no longer the case because there’s food everywhere,” leaving us stranded somewhere between a 24-hour doughnut shop and McDonald’s ever-glowing arches.

Our natural survival instinct forces us to compensate for a perceived lack of resources, even if one does not exist, according to Salerno’s research. “People make a deliberate decision to go with something more filling or higher in calories when they perceive that resources are scarce in a certain moment of time,” explains Salerno.

But it doesn’t take an impending famine to trigger these cues. Take the current dip in the stock market, suggests Salerno, or potential layoffs at the office. An unconscious (and sometimes conscious) fear of financial struggles could be enough to spark the survival instinct to chow down on high-calorie foods.

“These thoughts can operate in the background, causing us to make fairly dramatic differences in what we choose to eat,” says Salerno.

Once activated, this seek-food-and-eat-it mindset is hard — but not impossible — to quash. Take one of Salerno’s recent studies: After subjects were primed through word cues designed to indicate a potential lack of surrounding resources, they were offered the choice of a garden salad or cupcakes. In the beginning, nearly 73 percent of the group chose the more filling, higher calorie cupcakes.

But when certain subjects were offered resources in the form of money before food, those who ate cupcakes dropped to 45 percent.

While you may think that emotions or memories drive your cravings for your mom’s baked macaroni and cheese or grandma’s cheesy lasagna, it may be that our bodies are jonesing for these comfort foods at an even deeper, cellular level, according to new research published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the study, researchers effectively removed the “joy” of eating from the equation — the delicious smells that remind you of your favorite home-cooked meal — by simply injecting a solution of fatty acids directly into the study participants’ stomachs. (Yikes!!)

Compared to those who were only given a saline solution, people with the mixture of fatty acids had a more positive reaction after listening to depressing music and looking at sad faces, showing that we may actually be biologically, not just psychologically, predisposed to crave high-calorie comfort foods when we’re down.

How to Help Yourself

Between battling emotional, gut-like reactions to food and cravings at a molecular level, we seem to be left without an evolutionary leg to stand on. So, do we have any hope of combating cravings?

“It’s not a losing battle,” says Susan Albers, Ph.D., a psychologist at The Cleveland Clinic and author of “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food.” “You can rewire your brain. It’s about conditioning. We turn to food on autopilot, and we’re eating before we even realize it. When we [switch] it with something else, that becomes the default.”

Unlike a true physical hunger, which develops over time, cravings come out of the blue and can be triggered by almost anything: stress, boredom, emotions or simply seeing or smelling a certain food, notes Albers. The key is to begin associating these cravings with another action, such as sipping tea or taking a walk.

“It’s like substituting one habit for another habit,” said Brian Wansink, Ph.D. author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”

Take your worries out on worry beads. Pick up some worry beads and keep them with you. Moving the beads back and forth between your fingers helps keeps hands busy and removes tension, suggests Albers.

Take a whiff of scented oils. Scent has a powerful affect on our emotions. “Think of the smell of grass or the cologne of someone you love — scents travel directly to the emotional center of the brain,” says Albers, who cites a study where graduate school nurses who sniffed lavender reduced test anxiety and pulse rate.

Chew gum. Keeping your mouth busy by chomping on gum or tea tree toothpicks may help reduce stress eating and they’re calorie-free, notes Albers.

Sip black tea. Curling up to a cup of black tea has been clinically proven to reduce cortisol levels by nearly 50 percent, according to a study in Psychopharmacology. What’s more, the sheer act of taking a moment to drink something warm can have the calming effect necessary to combat a craving, according to Albers.

Write in your journal. Eating to tame your emotions? Try putting pen to paper instead of fork to mouth. “Research shows that journaling is an effective tool for reducing stress and anxiety,” says Albers.

Rub yourself the right way. Try this self-massage trick from Albers to tame tension, which can induce cravings: Place a tennis ball under your foot and roll it around. Or place the ball on a wall and press your back against it, rolling the ball back and forth between your shoulder blades. “According to reflexology studies, massage stimulates feel good neurotransmitters,” she says.

Mushroom Burger from the Chew

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mushroom burger

mushroom burger

Clinton Kelly made a mushroom burger on The Chew on Monday that looked so delicious! I absolutely wanted it. Here is the recipe, with a few of my edits. If you want to see his untouched recipe, go the their site.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 pound Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quick cooking oats, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup carrots, grated
2 medium eggs, beaten
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
6 each hamburger buns, low-calorie

1. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and toss to coat. Season with a large pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and a few cracks of black pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and season again. You may need to add more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the onions are soft and the mushrooms begin to color.

2. Pour the mushrooms and onions into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, parmesan, breadcrumbs, carrot, eggs, parsley and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and form into patties.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add olive oil spray. Carefully put the patties in the pan, working in batches if necessary so as not to overcrowd. Cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown.

4. Toast the buns and add a burger patty to each.

Serves 6.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 377 Calories; 13g Fat (29.1% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 76mg Cholesterol; 467mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fat.


January 14, 2013

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I don’t feel well this morning. I felt kinda ugh yesterday but I chalked that up to overwork. I worked 14 hours yesterday. I was scheduled for 10 hours so I was expecting that. But then I had to stay for 4 more. That was unexpected. I wasn’t thrilled and I wasn’t feeling great. It was supposed to be my day off, but my day off always get screwed up. (Yes, I did complain and I was bitchy. Sorry, you would, too, if every Friday at 5 pm you were told, “Nope! You gotta stay til 10!”) As I talked yesterday, I found myself hating the sound of my own voice. I use a headset at work and my voice was bouncing back into my own ear and I was so fed up with it. 14 hours of BLAH, BLAH, BLAH and OMG! It is monotonous! I’m like, “Damnation! I am sick of myself and how freaking nice I sound! I do not feel this nice!” Who knew I could get sick of myself?! And my voice? OMG! Twang! I like my Southern twang usually, but yesterday? Hell no! I get twangier when I get tired. Who knew my drawl could D-R-A-W-W-W-L? It can.

So this morning I woke up with a fever, coughing, sniffly and no voice. I use my voice constantly. I can’t talk. I can strain, but it hurts. So pretty much NADA. I am on-call until Wednesday morning.  This is NOT good. I just got a co-worker to take the on-call for today. I have to go to a meeting this afternoon with other supervisors and I am going to ask another to take Tuesday just in case because I am not sure what is happening with my throat and if/when I can talk. I may have to call out sick because if I can’t talk I can’t do my job.

So now back to something food-related…the other day I wanted a chicken sandwich and a frou-frou salad for work. It was the night that I was going to work so long. I figured if I was working so long I deserved a grilled chicken salad and a funky, frou-frou salad. So I go to Wendy’s and order. “It’s going to take 11 minutes for your sandwich.” That’s what they told me. Were they trying to deter me from getting food? I got there early because I know they are slow so I said that was fine. I mean, are they chasing the chicken, killing it, plucking it, and then cooking it? So they hand me a soda out the window with NO straw and then ask me to pull into a parking space and wait. So I wait and wait and wait. I waited 20 minutes and they bring food. By this time, I am going to be late for work. Thankfully work is 3 minutes down the road. I get to work and look in the bag. My healthy dinner is not so healthy! I now have this baked potato drenched in some fake-ass cheese crap and a whole lot of it. I tried to wipe it off but that didn’t work. Then I got this salad with spicy chicken that burned my mouth. The food was less expensive than what I paid for. I called Wendy’s and let them know I was angry. It took a while to get through. I guess others were angry, too. But this just really bothered me. I TRIED to do the right thing. I really did. But because I got screwed over and couldn’t really leave to rectify it, I was stuck with nasty food and 14 hours of work. Thankfully I did have some yogurt at work. I also had some Italian dressing which toned down the salad a little, but it wasn’t really good.

So do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try that it just isn’t working? I mean, I realize there wasn’t that much effort in it. But I had good intentions! I was going to do the right thing for a change! I really was. I wasn’t going to eat the bad foods. I was going to eat something decent for a change.

4 Easy Ways To Burn More Calories

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I found this on John Tesh’s site and thought it was cool. I knew these things, but it was a nice little reminder.

4 Easy Ways To Burn More Calories

Mike Christian

If overindulging over the holidays has made it hard for you to button your jeans, listen up. Here are 4 easy ways to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories, without really trying:

    • Eat pineapple. Sports medicine expert Dr. Dan Hamner says that pineapple contains high levels of the enzyme bromelain, which helps us burn calories instead of storing them.
    • Meditate. A study in the Medical Science Monitor found that meditating increases levels of the neurotransmitters, which in turn boost your resting metabolic rate. Another thing to remember? Stress makes your body deposit dangerous fat cells around your waistline. But meditation helps you control the stress, helps reduce stress eating and helps metabolize your food more effectively.
    • Stand more than you sit. Exercise physiologist Dr. William Sukala says that only 1-in-4 of us do it. But people who sit all day are more likely to gain 25 pounds a year than people who stand while they work. If your job requires a lot of sitting, make sure you get up and walk around at least 5 minutes every hour.
  • Laugh more. Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is the author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. And she says that – minute for minute – laughing burns more calories than a rowing machine.


January 11, 2013

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So I had something happen last night that was nice and yet causes me problems. My coworker didn’t see me on my birthday and so she wanted to do something nice for my birthday. That’s nice, right? I think so. So she brought in food from one of my favorite fast food places. Remember that burger with the chili, onions and slaw? Yeah. That place. Also fries and the best flipping milkshake ever. How do I say no to that? I didn’t. I couldn’t. And what was sooooo bad? I had gone to the grocery store and bought good food. Like stuff to make a healthy dinner. I had gotten smoked turkey, Flat Out flatbread, salad, bell peppers, Italian dressing, grapes and yogurt. Healthy food! I was going to make this wonderful wrap filled with lettuce and peppers and some turkey and the dressing was going to be my fat. I was going to eat grapes and/or yogurt as dessert or snacks depending on my fullness. I had a freaking plan! I really did!

So I left the food at work for tonight. Friday night I usually am running late and end up ordering pizza. Not tonight. I do not want pizza. Actually I am kinda pizza’d out. I actually DO want a healthy wrap instead. I do want some grapes instead. Yeah, I know that sounds odd for a fat chick to say, but I am really tired of some things.

Last night eating that burger, it was ok, but it wasn’t great. I think a lot of it was mental. I knew I had a plan and I was eating it because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I didn’t eat the fries. I ate a few but frankly I was too full to eat them all and plus they just didn’t taste that great warmed up. I couldn’t eat them right away and I was so busy when I got to work that it was about 3 hours before I could warm up my food to eat anything. I actually got more pleasure from the onions, chili and slaw on the burger and that did remind me of my quest to try to make that at home. I could make a veggie burger with some chili, slaw and some kind of chili. We’ll see. I won’t lie, though. I did love that milkshake. It was so good. I was thirsty, though, and I needed and wanted something COLD! But it was so sweet and yummy. I don’t know if I could replicate that.

I suppose the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?

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Guess what? There’s a new tool in the calorie-fighting arsenal. The HAPI-Fork! Yes, a fork has been invented to help you eat! Isn’t that what forks are supposed to do? But According to HAPI Labs the HAPIFork:

Eating too fast, and not chewing long enough leads to poor digestion and poor weight control.

The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that monitors your eating habits. The HAPIfork gives you precise information about your eating schedule. The HAPIfork alerts you with the help of indicator lights when you are eating too fast.

Every time you bring food from your plate to your mouth
with your fork, this action is called: 
a “fork serving”.

The HAPIfork also measures:
     • How long it took to eat your meal.
     • The amount of “fork servings” taken per minute.
     • Intervals between “fork servings”.

HAPI Stuff

Then you can connect it to your smart phone, your computer…

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